Two albums ago, when Midnattsol’s Where Twilight Dwells debuted to a swarm of mixed reviews, it might have been perceived that Carmen Elise Espenæs was living in the shadow of her older sister of Theatre Of Tragedy and Leaves’ Eyes fame – Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull.
The Metamorphosis Melody quashes any such impressions, with enough individual strength to stand on it’s own two feet, whilst proving that Midnattsol do have an interesting take on symphonic metal somewhat.
However, despite the fact that I’d like to do my best in appreciating each act for their own unique sound, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be others who make attempts in critically examining the two sisters’ projects and twisting it into a fiasco of sibling rivalry – especially given the fact that both of their new records are released on the same day! (see Leaves’ Eyes review)
In terms of genre, Midnattsol actually prefer the term Nordic Gothic Metal as opposed to folky symphonic metal – the latter being a term that could fit the bill in describing the five-piece. But it becomes clear in this record that there is a huge gothic influence in most of the lyrics – and with an occasional track in Norwegian – their self-tagged label may just make sense.
It is one of these tracks written in Norwegian, that produces a superior song. Forvandlingen asserts the band as a heavier force than many other female-fronted gothic and symphonic acts, centred around some weighty, melodic riffs and splayed with pensive lead guitar.
Goodbye reveals their pure folk side with roots in celtic acoustic music. Espenæs’ vocals are considerably tainted with this influence, but while that may be the case musically, the singer croons some love-lost gothic tinged lyrics to assist. In contrast she also has a lower operatic edge, in particularly when performing title-track The Metamorphosis Melody.
Final track My Re-Creation once again demonstrates their depth with some – dare I say – head-slinging drumming from Christopher Merzinsky, but only after a lovely folk intro of strings and harp.
In relation to other female-fronted gothic bands, The Metamorphosis Melody holds a denser sound in places, but instead of buckling in a cumbersome mess, this flourishes after a few listens.