Midnattsol - Nordlys
Bruce Turnbull 24/03/2008
Right, where did I put my measuring jug? I think the cash cow needs milking again. Of course it does, otherwise we wouldn't have yet another offering from the increasingly annoying flavour of the month now would we? To be honest, I absolutely love this stuff when it's done with some credibility - Autumn, After Forever, Epica - or some originality - Lullacry, Thalion, To-Mera - but I'm afraid “Nordlys”, or the “Northlight”, isn't done with either.
The often difficult sophomore release sees German/Norwegian symphonic gothic metallers Midnattsol continuing right from where they left off - and I mean right where they left off - from their debut "Where Twilight Dwells", except to try and invigorate new interest they have injected a touch of dark atmosphere and a reasonable amount of folk into their dreary sound. There are times when this works a treat - the soulful "Northern Light" or the up-beat "Wintertimes" to name but two - but one thing Midnattsol seem to be forgetting is that you can still create darkness with a sliver of light, hence this album is about as cheery as a funeral procession. There isn't anything particularly bad to be found on “Nordlys”, but just nothing too good either. The swan-like vocals of Carmen Elise Espenaes are delightfully angelic, but they do nothing for the songs, meandering miserably in and out of time with the music, much like label mates Leaves' Eyes and their dull brethren. It's a shame they don't take the same stance as the guitars, which fluctuate between mid-paced drones to full on harmonized attacks, painting some rather picture-esque frescos with their sweet, sombre melodies. The two buxom blondes may shoot this thing off the shelves, but it'll take more than cleavage to satisfy my musical requirements. Anyone else hear a moo just now?