Sunday, 7 October 2018

Midvinter - At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon

MIDVINTER - At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon (BLACK DIAMOND - CD 1997)
I wonder how many of you will remember Swedish band called Midvinter. Formed around mid 90's, they recorded one album only, "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" in 1997, got a tiny bit of attention, but nothing more happened to them, really. Midvinter were just another mediocre Scandinavian black metal band, which tried to jump on the trend for melodic, a bit symphonic black metal. And just like many similar bands, they soon disappeared from the scene. Few remember them nowadays. I do. And I still listen to them sometimes. Surprisingly, the album defends itself pretty well nowadays. 
Nowadays, when I listen to "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" I can admit that there was some potential behind Midvinter. They definitely knew how to play their instruments; this album is filled with quite a solid dose of great music and Midvinter had enough ideas to win my support. I'm almost surprised how good it feels to listen to this album nowadays, how memorable, but well played and composed it is. In the field of melodic black metal there aren’t many bad things you could accuse Midvinter for. Their songs are a good mixture of melodic riffs, aggressive and fast parts, symphonic, epic black metal and the balance between all these styles is very good. There's a lot of dynamics in this music, a lot is going on and with one memorable riff after another, with one hooky part after another, it becomes an easily listenable and enjoyable album from the beginning. Imagine a good mixture of Swedish melodic black metal in the vein of Dissection, Sacramentum, Vinterland, Throne of Ahaz, Mork Gryning or Gates of Ishtar (“Dödfödd”) with Norwegian symphonic black metal from bands like Old Man's Child, early Dimmu Borgir and Odium (“Moonbound”)... This is pretty much how I would describe "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon". And it's not bad at all.  
If there was anything what I would really say against this album, then it's a bit too long. 63 minutes is just too much for me and with most of the songs extended to crazy 9 minutes, the music becomes a bit dull and repetitive. Apart from some very distinctive fragments, like for instance those, when Midvinter uses clean vocals, everything is based upon similar patterns and type of riffs. Which is OK, but with 63 minutes on the clock I do have problems how can I distinguish one song from another. There are few parts or ideas, which I don't like so much, especially when Midvinter music becomes a tiny bit too sugary sweet melodic for me or with the way they used keyboards. But the general idea to combine melodic riff as a base, played with fast drums and aggressive, vicious vocals is, as typical for Swedish black metal scene, always nice to listen to. It's good that there's always aggression, viciousness and dark, cold atmosphere in the music, only sometimes interrupted by an epic fragment. 
So, I listen to "At the Sight of the Apocalypse Dragon" and surprisingly enjoy it more than I expected to. It may be mediocre album, when compared to some of the best Swedish black metal efforts of the late 90's, but it's just nice to listen to. 
Standout tracks: "Dödfödd”, “Moonbound 
Verdict: 70/100 

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