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Midnight Odyssey - Biolume Part 3 - A Fullmoon Madness review

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Band: Midnight Odyssey
Album: Biolume Part 3 - A Fullmoon Madness
Release date: November 2023

01. As Darkness Dims The Fire
02. A Land That Only Death Knows
03. The Long Forgotten Dead
04. They Have Always Known
05. The Horned Goddess
06. Witching Eyes
07. As One We Grow, As One We Fall
08. The Ghost Of Endymion
09. A Fullmoon Madness
10. In The Lunar Maelstrom
11. Death In Crimson Fire
12. The Last Day
13. Luna

Are you ready to have the "very long albums" discussion again?

Length in metal albums, or just albums in general, is a two edged sword. Aside from the cases where the album is long more for the convenience of stitching together more music, generally with each disk having a separate identity (like Devin Townsend's Z2 or Swallow The Sun's Songs From The North), the main point of long albums is casting aside accessibility for a sense of grandeur, and it is true that very long albums can have that very grandeur be part of the appeal (like Blood Geometry, Sadness Will Prevail, The Human Equation, or Éons). Sometimes that creates albums that feel like rites of passage that you have to consciously make time for and absorb. Sometimes it gets too much and sometimes the results are astonishingly bad. But if there's one project where that very length-related grandeur is part of its very DNA, it's Midnight Odyssey.

I've already been more extensive in my assessment of Midnight Odyssey's album lengths in my review of a previous record. In short, there are two other Midnight Odyssey albums that are longer than two hours. A Fullmoon Madness is also a closer to a trilogy, one where each instalment went on for longer than its predecessor, something which left the second part as an in between being long and so long it has charm. With this in mind, it might seem like the band is overdoing it, but what really works for Midnight Odyssey but not for Esoctrilihum is that the releases are spaced out (no pun intended). The other two huge Midnight Odyssey releases? Those were released back in 2011 and 2015, and since then the only full lengths that the band released were either the space ambient detours or this specific trilogy. Despite the discography seeming more bloated since 2019, those were very specific threads with very specific sounds and purposes to their lengths.

What made The Golden Orb stand out to me was how the sound of the band was evolving without really losing anything of what made the band's identity stand out. Cosmic atmospheric black metal has been done before, and bands detouring into space ambient is also not completely unique, but seeing the project wrap epic doom and Bathory-esque viking metal alongside the already epic-sounding Summoning evocations was pretty inspiring and that felt like it justified the runtimes. That's also part of what works about the runtimes is that the music that's being done is very fitting for very elongated long-form songwriting, whether it's sustained ambient or more repetitive black metal, minutes fly by easier and it makes sense. And with A Fullmoon Madness that feels even more so the case, as the Midnight Odyssey canon feels both expanded and re-examined specifically for this album.

It makes sense that this would follow once the space ambient trilogy was completed, because some lessons learned by Dis Pater seem to be applied here both in the moments where the space ambient takes center stage and in the ones where it gets interwoven with other genres. Sometimes it's the atmospheric black metal that's the skeletal sound most expected, but sometimes the neofolky tones of the cleans alongside the synths can create quite a goth rock vibe in their more baritone moments. The epic doom moments are already quite expected, but what's unexpected is how the symphonic side of the sound can often go beyond just the synth side, with the instrumentation in those moments feeling more expansive. The black metal moments for the most part work alongside the ambient and doom ones, but some of the harsher moments feel like a callback to the very first Midnight Odyssey releases.

Even aside from the how many different sounds it tackles, the way these sounds are interwoven and then focused on makes the listen feel like such a breeze. The flow of the album keeps a certain momentum, even if the paces don't go into faster territories, but they manage to sustain a certain inertia of how the epic atmosphere propels the music. The textures are light enough that they never overwhelm and packed enough to remain interesting. Because of its scope and variety in sounds it really feels like it encapsulates pretty much everything that Midnight Odyssey have done so far. And as such some of its highlights end up being career highlights.

But the elephant in the room is still there. Even if it's a bit better compartmentalized than its predecessor, there's still too much to not feel like it's creaking under it's own weight. It's well-written, well-textured, and well-performed enough that it's not collapsing, but even with all its sound variety there's only so much slow to mid-paced Midnight Odyssey one can listen to. And maybe that's more because there's also more time I had to spend with this album to give it enough listens for a review, but I feel like variety should've came in intensity as well not just in sounds, because while I can sustain my interest in it because of how well it's made, it's hard to also sustain my excitement. As much as I tried to avoid the word during this review: there is bloat.

The two trilogies concluded, it does feel like a book has been closed and for the first time in a while there isn't a Midnight Odyssey release that is required to fill a void. But the void of space is endless and there is room for more. Judging by Dis Pater's track record, I trust that he knows how to fill it, but weird as it is to say it I also hope it won't be too soon.

Written on 05.12.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 110 users
05.12.2023 - 18:22
Rating: 9
Khold Baroness

Good Metal Day
I read some of your review and didn't agree or understand one point. Why doesn't work for Esoctrilihum?! Because he make a new album every month or new single every week? But if someone like it and the music is good what's the problem?
Imagine: if Metallica or Iron Maiden didn't stop with the alchemy of the old masterpieces. It was a bad thing you have more and more Master of Puppets / ...And justice ...or Somewhere in time / Seventh son... formula?
Is that better wait 4 or 5 years for another album who lost that chemistry? Because if you are in a good path of inspiration , it's better squeeze that instead of get lost in the process and get tired and make worse and worse music along the years.
Music and every art must be cooked inside with passion first for himself...and maybe someone will follow...
07.12.2023 - 17:39

Was expecting to have a review as long as the album, haha
07.12.2023 - 21:48
Rating: 7

Written by Khold Baroness on 05.12.2023 at 18:22

Good Metal Day
I read some of your review and didn't agree or understand one point. Why doesn't work for Esoctrilihum?! Because he make a new album every month or new single every week? But if someone like it and the music is good what's the problem?

Obviously if someone likes it, then it's not a problem; I think for quite a lot of people, there's a feeling that Esoctrilihum isn't really maintaining the quality that he delivered on Eternity Of Shaog, as well as a general fatigue with the sound losing its appeal in overabundance. Not everyone is going to feel the same, and more power to those that get equal enjoyment out of all his albums; however, for more than a few, they're not getting that equal enjoyment. I'm not sure this should really be news for you, though, since you were part of a discussion on the same topic in the comments of the most recent Esoctrilihum review
10.12.2023 - 21:58
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Written by Khold Baroness on 05.12.2023 at 18:22

Why doesn't work for Esoctrilihum?! Because he make a new album every month or new single every week?

Yes, actually, that’s exactly it
I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.


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