Midnight Odyssey Shards of Silver Fade 01Ok, be honest. If I told you today’s review was for a double album that clocked in at nearly 160 minutes and consisted of atmospheric blackened doom metal, what would you say? Well, if you’ve heard of Midnight Odyssey, my guess is that you would either say, “No shit, it’s out?” or “Fuck, not them again…” If you don’t know of the band you might say, “Oh wow, I gots to hear me some of that” or “fuck that dribble.” Honesty from Honest Abe Grier, my initial thought veered to the latterest of the latters. The idea of sitting through slow-building atmospheres, auditory representations of depressive landscapes stitched together with heavy synths, wannabe Quorthon-meets-David Gold clean vocals, and some tunnel shrieking seemed overwhelming and exhausting. Not to mention that I could drive halfway across the State during the runtime. But after releasing a very respectable one-hour demo in Firmament and having already tackled a two-hour epic with Funerals from the Astral Sphere (hehe, I said “sphere”), there are definitely things in their sound that work. But can they do it again with Shards of Silver Fade? Will I get lost in this new release like I did Funerals? Should there be a government-controlled cap on album length? Stop with the questions!

Because you have to put up with over two hours of music, I’ll just give you the short answers, sorta. Like many of the one-man bands reviewed this year, Midnight Odyssey’s Dis Pater clearly dumped every damn ounce of his soul into Funerals. Nearly four years after that, Pater crafts you another 2+ hour slab of sadness, darkness, and ambiance that comes close to topping its predecessor, but I still feel that Pater’s ultimate achievement remains Funerals (even though Funerals… has its share of filler and could have been a great 1-1.25 hour album). Regardless of length, Pater’s sound requires intense steeping and only after your bones are finally saturated with the doom and gloom, will you find your inner Dr. Downer.

Unfortunately, Shards of Silver Fade feels long and lacks some of the originality and the somber efficacy found throughout Funerals. Like that opus, this still has some semblance of a midway point in its eight tracks for a quick breather, but these two discs feel like, well… one really long album. Some of this lengthy feeling may also have to do with its eight tracks versus the sixteen found on its precursor. Having more actual song and directions changes throughout its length somehow made Funerals more digestable and memorable.

Midnight Odyssey Shards of Silver Fade 02The first four tracks of this album (technically, the first disc of this two-discer) are actually quite good. “From a Frozen Wasteland,” “Hunter of the Celestial Sea,” “Son of Phoebus,” and “A Ghost in Gleaming Stars” build from a slow moving train of Viking-era Quorthon vox and a doomy pace before growing into a powerful momentum that’s killed off and resurrected in the form of Wintersun-esque keys in “Son of Phoebus.” This enveloping sadness is then transformed into beautiful, piano-driven depression in “A Ghost in Gleaming Stars” before the song slips off into oblivion.

The second half, on the other hand, opens with some crushing, melodic black metal (rasps included) that swaps aggression for peace in the intro to “Starlight Oblivion,” and then resumes its wispy, blackened atmospheres. After mingling with moody atmospheres, it strips down to simplistic acoustic-guitar work as mournful Woods of Ypres character builds it back up into the blackened, gloomy tower that most songs on the album strive to be. After some massive drum work, a final transition occurs in the title track as Pater’s morose Moonspell vocal approach finally puts this giant to sleep.

Shards of Silver Fade is a journey. There is no other way to describe it and it must be taken as a whole to absorb its mood and atmosphere. With that, it’s difficult at times to remember the beginning once you’ve reached the end. Even after listening to this release nearly a dozen times, the only way to pass its substance onto the reader is by following it as I write. Shards… has moments of beauty, moments of captivation, and moments of splendor; however, it’s so long it becomes a chore to come back to and combining the first half with “Starlight Oblivion” and maybe the title track would have been sufficient to make this a strong album. Thankfully, the DR9 rating gives it great listenability but this redundancy brings makes it less enjoyable than the regular variations and majesty found on Funerals from the Astral Sphere.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Websites: MidnightOdysseyOfficial | Facebook.com/MidnightOdyssey
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 06.08.2015

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Hehe. You said sphere. Hehe.

    Sphere: the all new “balls” of classroom speech.

  • Wilhelm

    Agreed, this is long and sometimes drawn out – definitely hits home if you are in the mood though. I like how there are non metal parts that are very melancholic but not in a suicidal way. I think the score should be a bit higher.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      It’s got great parts. Just didn’t sink like his last one. I love his last album.

      • Wilhelm

        I think if he would have released this new CD in two parts at separate times of the year, it would have been a smarter move. Btw He also put out that Converge: rivers of hell three way-split of all of his projects last year, which was pretty cool.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I agree. And yeah, I was gonna mention the split but didn’t. Pretty neat release.

  • Noctus

    This dude is really talented but holy fuck, there’s about 50 minutes worth of good material on this 2 hour and 22 minute album. He needs to condense his stuff.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Agreed.

  • I’m usually a defender of longer albums, but if there ever was a need for restraint, this is an example of it.

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    Contender for ugliest album art of the year…?

    • basenjibrian

      Spheres and rainbow arcs and planets and weird quake fissures, oh my!
      Sometimes buying music digitally IS the way to go! can you imagine this as an LP sleeve?
      On first listen, I actually like it more than Funerals, which loses me more quickly than Shards did. On first listen, we will see.
      I actually liked the Tempestuous Fall album the best!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    I think you can drive halfway across the state WHILE listening to Shards of Silver Fade….

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Generally I’m really against overly long albums but call it an Odyssey and I’m in!
    The opening to Shards of oblivion is epically excellent and Star Light Oblivion is rich with excellent melodies and atmosphere, a compelling listen. I think it’s best moments make this album really worthwhile.

    But yes editing…this would be a really stellar (boom tish) release if he’d trimmed it down. I’m eagerly anticipating what his next move will be. All the ingredients seem to be there for this guy to make a gothic star journey record that will blow minds.

  • mtlman1990

    It’s strange. There are a lot of critics giving this a 10/10. I think I need to give this a lot more listens.

  • pfk505

    I love everything this guy makes, and this album is no exception. The only problem is eking out 2.5 hours at a time to listen to it. I think its a masterpiece. With that said, I would offer that his best work remains the three way split “Converge, Rivers of Hell”. If you sort of like this but want to seek out a “condensed” example, that album would be it.

  • Lucas Rosenkvist

    HIS GUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESTS