MIDNIGHT ETERNAL — Midnight Eternal (review)

MIDNIGHT ETERNAL — Midnight Eternal album cover Album · 2016 · Symphonic Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
adg211288
Symphonic metal. It's one of those genres of metal that has quite a good following, perhaps due in no small part to many of the artists have a more radio friendly approach to metal than most, but I find it rare that a new artist comes along playing the style that manages to make a positive impact on me. Midnight Eternal (2016) is the debut full-length studio album from this artist of the same name and it's the first symphonic metal release for a while that wasn't made by one of the genre's bigger names (Epica, Nightwish etc) that's really impressed me. It's an album that shows off just how diverse a genre symphonic metal can be.

Sure, this is still rather radio friendly as far as metal goes, though it's less so than say the more recent Within Temptation, but it's quite a way off being as heavy as Epica as well. But while it does exist in a sort of middle ground area the twelve track release has Midnight Eternal changing the mood and tone of their music from track to track, something that immediately strikes me as rare for this genre. You'll get epic symphonic power metal pieces like Repentance to the more extreme metal based track Shadow Falls. Their balladry as heard in The Lantern is done tastefully which is an achievement not every big name metal band can manage. Their song-writing and musicianship is rather standard on a per track basis even in nine minute closer First Time Thrill, but the amount of variety on offer is what makes this one such a strong debut for the group and elevates it to the next level.

The song-writing is catchy in an actually rather charming way and is aided by the pleasant voice of Raine Hilai, who brings a different style to the symphonic metal table compared to the usual soprano style singing used elsewhere, sometimes even coming across to me as being a bit quirky, in a good way of course. The band are also more unusual for featuring some clean male singing and not just growls whenever a song requires a second voice. This is actually the main thing that is niggling at me funnily enough, as there are instances here where the male backing vocals seem to have more power in their delivery than Raine Hilai seems able to manage. It makes me wonder why this guy's voice (my promo notes list both guitarist Richard Fischer and bassist Greg Manning as providing vocals but don't make it clear who sings these parts) is not being heard a bit more on the album. I like Raine Hilai's style a lot and think she sings her heart out here, but it is curious that the band aren't making use of all their assets.

While there's potential there for Midnight Eternal to grow as a band this is still the best symphonic metal debut I've heard for a while. If you're a fan of the genre this is certainly a band to watch.
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