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“Nordlys” by Midnattsol

Artist: Midnattsol
Title: “Nordlys”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 4/1/2008
Genre: Nordic Folk Metal
Rating: 4/5

When I first heard that Midnattsol was a band not only fronted by the sister of Leaves’ Eyes own Liv Kristine but that it was also another female fronted Symphonic Gothic adventure, I admit that I was just a little bit hesitant about what I would actually experience with their album. Fortunately when it comes down to the bands sophomore release “Nordlys”, which is Norwegian for Northern Lights, the group comes off as both interesting and exciting from the moment the recording begins. I was happy this was far from a “Leaves Eyes II” as that group is a special one to me, and I would hate to find this be an exact clone. Midnattsol strikes hard from the beginning with “Open Your Eyes” and this is a crunching number, with a slow yet heavy vibe. There is a touch of Liv Kristine in her sister’s voice but I felt this was to be expected with the siblings and the slight similarity in vocal styles would definitely find some cross-pollination in terms of fans for the group. “Skogens Lengsel” surprised me in its overall tempo and drive since it was a little more like an Iron Maiden track with Nightwish style drumming. Carmen shows during this one that she might have been a good choice for the Finnish superstars had she not been involved in something special already. The albums title track follows as the third offering and it would be an understatement to say that this song is anything less than a potential single for whatever means will allow it to reach the proper audience. One of the most intriguing parts of the track for me was in its slightly Middle Eastern feel during some of the guitar riffing. Another favorite of mine fell to “Wintertimes” which I enjoyed for its careful mixture of heaviness and softer passages. Carmen also brings her voice to a soft whisper for these aspects before she again delivers her soaring melodies. While we were only up to the albums fifth track it was very clear that Midnattsol was afforded the luxury of being far from “yet another” female fronted band and instead came off as something capable of standing strong on their own.
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