Midnattsol - The Metamorphosis Melody
Napalm Records
Gothic Power/Folk Metal
11 songs (56:18)
Release year: 2011
Midnattsol, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jaime
Oh look, another gothic/power metally type album from Napalm. Who'd have guessed? Anyway, Midnattsol are the literal sister band to a certain Leaves' Eyes so you'll probably be expecting them to sound very similar yes?

Well, not entirely. After the standard orchestral intro title track The Metamorphosis Melody fires away on all cylinders, and sounds sounds like a slightly aggressive folk metal type track. Whut? It's true though, I don't think the drums drift away from a double bass riddled pattern while they're audible, the guitars have a certain meaty crunch that just makes them sound so heavy and the keyboards are very, very understated which works well. It's actually odd to hear Carmen Elise Espenæs' vocals over it. Her softly spoken, slightly accented alto voice takes a little getting used to but is quite nice, and makes a welcome change from the bog standard soprano warblers that usually show up and overpower everything. Spellbound has a slightly odd rhythmic pattern that crops up during the interludes that is a bit of a mind melter to listen to, but otherwise continues with that surprising formula that the band are using here. They're a bit more along the lines of the heavier Epica material sans growled vocals.

Of course there is going to be a ballad that'll crop up, so behold The Tide. It's not all syrupy, which may be down to either Ms. Espenæs' vocals not milking everything or the fact that the song as a whole is fairly stripped backed (for this style of music at any rate). It's nice, which is probably what the goal was, but not too memorable. A Poet's Prayer has a bit more of a folky vibe running through it, and the clean break/solo sections split up what is an otherwise rather full on track. Again. This is odd. Forlorn is a bit weak to start off with, the vocals don't really work for me here, though the up-tempo section in the middle compensates a bit the track's probably the weakest so far. So it makes Kong Valemons Kamp all the better. Before starting off with what sounds like something taken from a late 90's goth metal band, then to folk metal riff, then to proggy melo death riff (with clean vocals, yea...), to power metal. It's a bit of a mix really. That's excluding the little ballad section as well. So there's a lot going on, but it manages to hold together, and if nothing else shows that the band are a damned sight braver than a few of their peers.

Acoustic ballad time! Goodbye is basically what you'd expect. Forvandlingen has a little Middle Eastern vibe that seeps through the lead and vocal lines which is a nice little change, though the song itself seemed to mainly skip past me. Motets Makt goes back to the folky elements again. I say again, it's practically an Ensiferum song. An old one. From when Jari was in them and they were awesome. And he was a she that spoke Norwegian. So this song gets a thumbs up due to lots of galloping riffs and some good leads that pop up and an alright solo too. Finally there's My Re-Creation, a folk metal power ballad. Well, for the first minute or so anyway. The rest of the track's not too bad, with the Middle Eastern flavours resurfacing, but it's not much compared to some of the others on offer here.

A surprising album. I had expected it to be Napalm's usual fare or a Leaves' Eyes light but instead there's a band that comes across with a fair amount of balls, if you will. This may be partially down to the production work of one Mr. Markus Stock (of Empyrium/The Vision Bleak fame) being sublime and giving the band a slightly more interesting sound that allows them to stand out from the many, many others that do a similar thing. There are a few blips, but nothing major that needs to be restated.
Killing Songs :
The Metamorphosis Melody, Spellbound, A Poet's Prayer, Kong Valemons Kamp, Motets Makt
Jaime quoted 84 / 100
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