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Australia is known for producing some amazing bands in the black metal genre, such as Drowning the Light, Austere, and Striborg. Midnight Odyssey is among these amazing bands. They perform an amazing yet familiar style of ambient black metal laced with doom influences, which makes for a very dark yet beautiful atmosphere. Tony Parker (known as Dis Pater) is the mastermind behind Midnight Odyssey and provides all the instruments.
Opening up with a beautiful acoustic guitar passage accompanied by an epic synth overtone, this demo is completely brought to life with the very first song "Journey Across the Sea". We have heard of bands in this subgenre that rely on keyboards as the main instruments over the guitars, and for this demo, that is mostly true. The guitars are obviously there and can be heard, but the keyboard takes the lead and the guitar follows very well. The band Summoning comes to mind as they use the same basic musical approach. The guitars are pushed back in the mix but they are obviously there, and especially shine in "Journey Across the Sea" and the epic "Spirit of the Winter Mountain".
The production used on this demo isn't anything new. It's raw and somewhat muddy, creating a fuzzy, buzzing atmosphere. This is especially accomplished by the guitar tone. The title track really captures this fuzzy production quite well, probably being the best example of this, however the whole album works in the same way. This is not music to headbang to. This is music to gaze at the stars to, or walk along the beach on a warm summer's evening to. The only thing about the production that I'm not too fond of is the way the drums are mixed. They are recorded on a drum machine I believe, because they do sound fairly synthetic. Not that this is a bad thing, but I really would have loved to hear this demo with real drums. They are also pushed further back into the mix than needed to. However, while the guitars could have been brought up a little in the mix and the drums certainly should have been, the vocals are amazing. They vary from epic clean singing to raw, misanthropic black metal shrieks and screams that really add a haunting atmosphere to the music.
This demo is a solid start to Midnight Odyssey's career. In fact, it only improves from here. So far, this band has aged like a fine wine and I hope this will continue. For fans of the more atmospheric, ambient BM bands, this will be a pleasing experience. If you are not usually a fan of ambient BM, this might change your mind.
An odd release that landed in my PO box after an offer from the artist to send some promo material. An offer I cannot decline especially from a new Australian Black Metal artist. Soon I was in possession of this 5-track CDR. Firstly – the music here is not exactly BM, although obviously it is influenced by the more epic and melodic BM such as Ulver and Summoning.
The production is a little muffled, but overall fair which is important because the music here is heavily layered allowing for vast expanses of synth atmosphere to a distant backing of guitar/bass/drum machine. The vocals are varied with huge baritone chants as well as clean and screeched voices.
The effect created is of a distant, dark and mysterious beauty – in fact that’s probably the best way to explain how this sounds – distant and beautiful. The mood is quite dark but not morbid, something that one would attain from contemplating untouched nature rather then the atrocities of man or his imagination. Although the guitars do not seem to play a big role in the sound at the onset, this gradually changes as the disk progresses. Come the last, title track, we get to hear the fascinating buzzing guitar tones used by the artist. As with the synth – these are heavily reverbed and layered creating an impressive sound of trumpets and organ pipes resonating in the digital blackness.
This is a great Atmospheric Black Metal release and hope the artist will produce more for our pleasure.
Originally published in Procession of Black Doom zine #4