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What a fucking turnaround for Midnattsol, the band that rides the accomplishments of Liv Kristine Espeneas. No longer do they need to flaunt the fact that their singer is the sister of Liv; they can stand on their own two feet as a real musical project now. Everyone made significant changes in the band. Vocals, guitars, and general songwriting have turned from appalling to very noteworthy. The biggest shock is that no line-up changes took place since their awful debut album (read my review on the previous record for full analysis).
First, let’s talk about the vocals. What happened? Carmen’s new singing style, although not perfect (to be discussed later), is seriously better than her earlier attempts on the debut. She was once very weak, with a poor sound quality and could not sing. Now, she blows the listener away with bombastic power; singing in an operatic style. She completely abandoned the quiet, timid sounding voice from the debut, and replaced it with powerful operatics. I cannot say enough about this turnaround. However, as mentioned before, it is not perfect. She still carries a very strange vocal quality, coming off as nasal and somewhat pretentious. But I am not going to complain, because after the first album, this sounds like a goddamn siren singing!
Guitars also stepped up after the first album disaster by creating much better riffs and sounding like skilled musicians are actually playing them. Check out the genius riff contained in “En Natt I Nord!” This is what I consider folk metal! Guitars are very strong here, and the acoustic shit from the last album is completely gone.
Drumming is still mediocre, but one can’t expect anything good from a drummer in a band like this.
Songwriting is drastically improved on “Norlys.” Whereas on the debut there were solid songs that could have been, we actually have masterpieces here like “Open Your Eyes,” “Konkylie,” and the afore mentioned “En Natt I Nord.” Midnattsol have finally evolved into a folk metal force with surprises around every corner. The album is definitely worth money.