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Midnight Odyssey - "The Forest Mourners" (Demo)

Midnight Odyssey - "The Forest Mourners" Demo cover image

"The Forest Mourners" track listing:

1. Journey Across the Sea (9:53)
2. Night Spirits (4:30)
3. Spirit of the Winter Mountain (10:50)
4. Twilight Storm (7:29)
5. Forest Mourners (7:02)

Reviewed by on April 29, 2010

"Dis Pater has composed a relative masterpiece that will definitely make its mark on the black metal community."

One of my favorite aspects of black metal is the suffocating atmosphere that it tends to bring. Some bands do this better than others. Midnight Odyssey is a one man project from Australia that leans very far to the “better” side. Playing a mix of raw black metal and doom, Dis Pater gives us “The Forest Mourners,” a demo that shines the entire way through, especially considering that it is the band’s first release. Grim but never very heavy, raw but utterly enchanting, this is one demo that I simply cannot get enough of.

The album starts with “Journey Across the Sea,” an epic track that has a distinct Viking, Bathory-esque feel to it. Blending acoustic work with synth, a bleak vision is wrought of a lonely vessel making its way through foggy, dismal depths. The middle section picks up for a more raw black metal sound, but don’t be mistaken; though the vocals are harsh and the guitars are distorted, all of it is still very much clouded in atmosphere. The vocals are less like brutal screeches and more like wails from the bottom of a well. Most of all, it works brilliantly. “Spirit of the Winter Mountain” is a long and breathtaking epic that never gets repetitive. “Night Spirits” and “Twilight Storm” are effective and evocative tracks that truly offer the listener a glimpse into the world Dis Pater is trying to evoke.

Throughout the entire demo, the music is never very heavy and is mostly synth driven. Layers of atmosphere are piled on to add a dream-like, wispy effect that creates a very raw kind of beauty that is rare in most black metal bands. “The Forest Mourners” goes from haunting to epic to lonely and back again several times without becoming trite or boring. Each track seems to have a story to tell; each track seems to invoke its own feel, yet they entire demo holds together with a wistful cohesion that is simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.

For a first release from a one man project, “The Forest Mourners” is very ambitious and, most importantly, incredibly successful. As Midnight Odyssey continues to release albums, this demo will definitely not fade into obscurity as a “meager first effort” as a lot of demos do. Dis Pater has composed a relative masterpiece that will definitely make its mark on the black metal community. Never brutal or heavy, this album’s key feature is the sheer and utterly unrelenting, esoteric beauty, natural wonder, and glimpses of ancient times that it invokes.

Highs: Breathtaking, beautiful music.

Lows: None that I can think of.

Bottom line: Dark and enchanting at the same time, this demo is very impressive.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)