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Midwinter - The glassy waters 2.5/5

Reviewed: 8-24-07


1. Black hole attraction
2. Seed of pain
3. The cripple
4. Illusion
5. One day you'll set in the land where you belong
6. One in a hole
7. The silence of your eyes
8. Sweet child o' mine
9. My fury
10. Atmoshperics

I was first introduced to the French band Midwinter via their debut 'Fountain of youth' a few years ago. It's a symphonic power metal CD that's fronted by an operatic female vocalist, and the CD is easily comparable to early Nightwish, Rosa Ignea, Visions of Atlantis, Operatika and Legenda Aurea. The debut showed a lot of promise, but was hampered by a poor production and a slight lack of originality as well. Still, it's a solid CD for the style and is one I listen to from time to time.

Midwinter has made a good deal of changes since then however, and their 2nd CD 'The glassy waters' reflects these changes; for starters, the operatic vocalist (Astrid Delaunay) from their debut has been replaced by newcomer Mylène Genoux, who has a good voice, but it feels like she's much more suited for rock. This is a problem because the band seems to bounce around many different musical styles on 'The glassy waters', and Mylène doesn't fit the music throughout a good portion of the CD. Really, you'll hear everything from gothic rock to symphonic power metal, and some fans will surely have a problem with this.

'The glassy waters' starts out with an electronic/atmospheric instrumental (intro) "Black hole attraction", which is interesting, as track 2 "Seed of pain" strikes immediately with symphonic power metal in the vein of their debut 'Fountain of youth', before settling into a typical gothic metal rhythm. Though good, track 3 "The cripple" is mostly rock and an unusual follow-up to the previous power/gothic metal song. Track 4 "Illusion" offers up some gothic rock/metal and leads to the slow but solid track 5 "One day you'll set in the land where you belong", which is one of Mylène's better songs.

Thankfully (speaking as a power metal fan), we get a good dose of symphonic power metal with track 6 "One in a hole" and track 7 "The silence of your eyes". Both of these songs are quite strong, have a slight gothic edge, and lead to the Guns N' Roses cover "Sweet child o' mine" (track 8). I wasn't impressed with the first few listens of this version, as it was too different from the original, but after many listens, I must admit the band has come up with a creative cover, containing a faster tempo and keyboards replacing some of Slash's popular guitar parts. Nicely done, and it sends us to one of my favorite tracks on the CD, "My fury", although this song leans towards rock. We then close with "Atmoshperics", an electronic/atmospheric instrumental (outro) very similar to the opener.

So we end up with a CD that's got a wide variety of music styles and overall isn't very cohesive. Also, while Mylène fits some of the songs ("The cripple" and "One day..." are great examples), the music is too heavy for her on others ("Seed of pain" and "The silence of your eyes" are the best examples) and it almost feels like she's lost in the background. Still, even though some songs don't work because of the vocal/music combination and the CD lacks a musical focus, when looked at as individuals, some of the songs are quite good. In addition, I've learned the band's 3rd CD will be almost purely rock. Though I'm not too excited about the band's upcoming rock direction (speaking as a metal fan), I do think it's the right move with the new vocalist. So we've got a band that's in a transition phase, and even though their debut showed some promise in the symphonic power metal style and this 2nd CD is decent to solid regardless of style, all of that will probably be forgotten, as the band's pretty much starting over.




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