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Midnight Sun - Dark Tide Rising

Midnight Sun
Dark Tide Rising
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 June 2019, 5:23 AM

From their EPK, MIDNIGHT SUN are that rarest of beasts: an original rock band.  They bring together elements of metal and progressive rock and mix them seamlessly, using big keyboard soundscapes and clean, melodic vocals. Lyrically, this album is dark in places, focusing on the central theme of loss. Whether it’s romantic love in “Early Warning” and “Delirium,” parental heartbreak in “Clouds,” or political ideals in “Control,” everything worthwhile has to be nurtured to endure. Take life for granted or assume that someone will take care of something for you and you’ll lose it. But while there is dark, there is also light. There is redemption and healing in “Broken Angels” and a celebration of love and the dance of life in “Scheherazade” to bring balance.

“Scheherazade” leads off the album. Opening key notes lead to a hard and heavy riff, full with keyboard presence. The song moves slowly, fueled by the emotional vocals of Lloyd-Jones. An eerie keyboard solo set the song apart. “Clouds” opens with clean guitar notes and a guitar solo. It has a charming sound, full with melody. The vocals are just a but pitchy, especially in the lower ranges, but it is a very pretty song. “Broken Angels” is a slow moving song. This track really never gets off the ground for me. It’s too slow and too similar in sound…it’s missing that dynamism that Progressive music often contains.

“Early Warning” is close to ten minutes in length, opening with soft keys and simulated strings. It’s another mid-tempo song with uninspired vocals, and sounds thin overall. With six musicians, they should be able to push more sound. “Delirium” pushes some strong melodies, especially in the chorus. It reminds me a bit of MARILLION. The guitars work well in this song as well and I can feel the track picking up and taking off. “Control” close the album…a near eleven-minute bruiser, opening with ominous keyboard and guitar notes. Some double bass rolls in, but then it’s back to that slow, ominous sound again. They have to be able to break free from this cycle. It makes for a quite boring listening experience.

Overall, I was left quite underwhelmed with the album. I did not care for the laments of the vocalist, so that didn’t help. But there isn’t much to champion here. As a fan of Progressive music, this one just didn’t do anything for me. I found it quite bland, and if they want to stand out, they need to incorporate some dynamism into their music. I did not hear the big soundscapes they were talking about earlier as well. Let’s hope they can improve in these areas before their next release.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 4
Memorability: 3
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Scheherazade
2. Clouds
3. Broken Angels
4. Early Warning
5. Delirium
6. Control
Lineup:
Huw Lloyd-Jones – Vocals
Ian Hodson – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Andy Gelband – Guitars
Ben Swanwick – Guitars
Sean Spear – Bass
Chris Habicht – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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