After many changes in their personal lives, Midnattsol rises again from their 7 year slumber with some surprising news. On March 2017, the band announced on their page original members Brigit and Chris, and Matthias who joined the band in 2011 parted ways with the band months prior due to personal reasons. Filling the void, Midnattsol has appointed Stephan Adolph as a new member later that month, who previously worked with Midnattsol on their first album “Where Twilight Dwells”, and Liv Kristine taking role as permanent second vocals in December 2017 which became a big news in the metal community. Liv was originally planned to appear in the album as a guest.
“The Aftermath” is their first album without a drummer, but the band promises the album will have still have folk influences and the melancholic symphonic metal compositions, and to bring excitement of sister power!
The Purple Sky
Vem kan segla
Ikje glem mag
The Unveiled Truth
Evaluation of Time
The first track titled “The Purple Sky” opens with bass strumming performed by new member Stephan and the keys by Daniel providing support in the background. Once the song reaches the 40-second mark, comes a sudden outburst of distorting guitars from Alex and fast pedalling drums with the haunting vocals from the sisters, Camen giving out the low and folky feel while Liv’s backing voice is in a high and angelic pitch. When the two merged their voices, it was a magical moment, the tones were so beautiful especially when the song drops mid-way giving them a chance to shine together with the piano alongside them. I enjoyed the folk elements in the melodies and pacing of this track.
“She [Syn] should also be a reminder of the fact that everything comes back to you, we can't continue like we do.” - Carmen
Next is “Syns sang”, the name is based of Syn, the goddess of watchfulness and truth, the goddess was the inspiration to the album cover as well. The son starts with a sole piano playing that gave me reminiscence to Theatre of Tragedy, and then transitions with heavier guitars and drums pummeling, more fast paced and more energy. The highlight of this track for me was Liv’s vocals near the end as she reaching those soaring high, letting us fans know that she has not lost touch with her ethereal voice. The track is sung in Norwegian and English and based on the lyrics, it speaks about the goddess that she will defend the weak in legal matters in which she wishes to refute, in other words, “defensive refusal”. Next is a traditional Swedish folk song “Vem kan segla”, a lullaby that Carmen enjoyed singing while growing up. Opening with the sounds of nature, the ghostly duo of Carmen and Liv brings calmness to the song and the instrumental in takes more of a slower pace with a lighter feel compared to the last two tracks. Returning to the Norwegian language is “Ikje glem mag”, taking lead is electric guitar and drumming with orchestral strings in the background creating a mournful atmosphere. The sister voices brings a warm tone, but it felt more as if it was a cry for help as the person is trying to flee. The title in English “Don’t forget me”, based on and a tribute to the victims of the 2011 terrorist attacks in Utøya, that we should never forget this tragedy and try to convince how can this be prevented in the future, even if you can't understand the language, you can sense it is a very tragic piece. “Herr Mannelig” is a Swedish ballad about female troll who wants to marry Sir Mannelig, persuading him by offering him presents, but is rejected because she is not a Christian woman. The folktale takes more of a gothic/doom metal direction with big riffs and catchy, folkloric melodies. The dueling Espenæs vocals and the growls brings “the beauty and the beast” aesthetic in this raw metal version which fits the story of the troll woman and the man in this 9 minute song.
Next is the self-titled “The Aftermath” coming in with a beautiful melancholic symphonic arrangements, the lyrical contents are sung only by Carmen on how the planet we live on is treated by evil human intentions. The mellow vocals and heavy instrumental brings the melancholic message of what the album is trying tell us; “we are destroying our earth and every living thing including ourselves” as what Carmen said in our interview. “The Unveiled Truth” is ballad that begins with the duo between the guitar and piano that gives us a sad revelation of how much hate and rage we have caused by destroying everything around us. The vocals give us a sad plea that we should stop caring and bury our ego and care more for our Inner Values. Next is a an instrumental nearing 7-minutes “Evaluation of Time”, starting with acoustic guitar playing, the track progresses bring in more of the folk elements being brought in the electric guitar, bass and the string arrangements. The song begins to become more heavier with the drums and the rising guitar distortion where it then becomes a real power drive. The title fits as the song dynamics changes from soft for heavy as if our judgement is near and the decision what will become of mankind of this abused land. The last track is what I have been anticipating for since the teaser trailer, “Forsaken” is my favorite track on the album, the acoustic guitar chords and the orchestral string compliments the folk atmosphere as Carmen and Liv sings in a point of view of the last humans on this earth. The trio vocals from the sisters and Stephan gives me chills as they come together wondering why have they forsaken themselves as consequences for their actions. during the chorus line comes the electric guitar solo and drum adds more sorrowness to this end, a perfect closing song to the album.
Bonus track “Eitrdråpar” another that is based on Norse mythology and also a ballad written by Liv. The name deprives from “Eitr”, substance is the origin of all living things. The liquid is also produced by a serpent Jörmungandr (which could be also seen in the cover). The title Liv translates is to “drops of poison”, the substance of life. Hearing Liv’s vocals and lyrics in this heavily folk song gives relief for the ears of fans that she is back in the genre she grew up while being influenced by Scandinavian history and folk traditions.
The album is how I imagined, the folk elements, the mythology, the melancholic instrumentation, the lyrics, it all matches the title “The Aftermath”. The beautiful voices from sisters is what fans have dream of, to hear them together in a full album. It may not be as heavy as it's previous releases, but I did enjoy the mythological inspired album, a great welcome back to Midnattsol.
The album receives a 10 out of 10 from me.
For More Info Visit:
Official homepage: https://midnattsol.com
Carmen Elise Espenæs - Vocals
Daniel Fischer - Keys
Alex Kautz - Guitars
Stephan Adolph - Guitars, bass, vocals
Liv Kristine Espenæs - Vocals