Midnattsol – The Metamorphosis Melody (Napalm Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Always found these guys (and chick) to be one of the more intriguing propositions in the crowded-as-fuck symphonic metal realm, only because they’d be a straight-Viking metal band if it weren’t for the feathery vocals of Carmen Espenæs. At face value, there’s quite a bit of depth to Midnattsol’s compositions, which means their songs are the typical sweet-chorus-and-that’s-it far we’re used to hearing from bands of this ilk. All this translates toThe Metamorphosis Melody being an excellent album.

Espenæs will never bowl anyone over with her vocals and she does sound a smidge like her sister (Liv Kristine of Leaves’ Eyes), just without the range and sass. Instead, Espenæs finds her mark pretty quickly (and easily) in a lot of these songs and appears to be more than happy to be along for the ride during the domineering “Spellbound” and agile “A Poet’s Prayer.” If anything, she assumes a team-player role here, a move that would probably be sacrilege to most female sirens in symphonic metal.

Without guitarist Daniel Droste this time (who left to focus solely on Ahab), there’s no lack of punch and subtle melodies to the band’s compositions. No time is wasted in getting into the core of the title track, where a very Scandinavian-sounding riff is catapulted over tons of keyboards, making the whole thing sound very orchestrated and grand. The more restrained “The Tide” and “Goodbye” fill in nicely between the brash heaviness of standouts like “Forlorn” (which is probably the best song of the lot) and “My Re-Creation.”

As underrated of a female-fronted symphonic Goth metal band as there is, Midnattsol’s continued growth on The Metamorphosis Melody isn’t to be taken lightly. Better yet, it’s even more refreshing (and encouraging) to find a band of this ilk that doesn’t have to dumb themselves down by resorting to cheeky looks and cleavage. Midnattsol don’t play that game.

www.midnattsol.com

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)