Album Review: MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY - Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb
Artist: Midnight Odyssey
Album: Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb
Genre: Atmospheric Metal
Review by Alex Logan
Odyssey. An intellectual and spiritual quest for a goal, marked by many changes of fortune. Such changes of fortune can occur at any time - even under the brightness of midnight.
The reality of nature’s dominance and overarching ability to control life’s fate is a not a new subject. Whether that’s based on the ideal of human insignificance in the universe, or the power of humanity to resist fate, leaves one to ponder our place and being. When the light shines, it illuminates this weakness.
After releasing Biolume Part 1: In Tarterean Chains to high acclaim in 2019, the second release of this anticipated trilogy, Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb, retains vivid storytelling that pushes literal dimensions integrated with a step in new musical direction for Midnight Odyssey’s Dis Pater. Based on the ideal of reflecting different themes of the sun and set within the context of classical mythology, Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb tells the story of exposure to a burning and unbearable heat. Incarnate to personal experiences such as hot Australian summers, doused with imagery of ancient Greece - Pater envisages a harsh desert climate that evokes stories of near-Eastern mythology. That influence shines bright through the developed softer sound of the listening voyage, with ‘Aurora Burning’ and ‘Below Horizon’ showcasing acoustic revitalisation and solar rejuventation through prominent plucking, glazing interludes and slow tempo, seamlessly conducting our conscious and its reaction.
The aforementioned audible change showcases a direction with underlying heavy doom, sprinkled with Viking metal characteristics. From opener ‘Dawn-Bringer’, which sets the scene for the ceremonial-leaning listen, elements of battle horns and epic fantasy synth creep in to set the scene, revolved around punishment. The perception of us humans helplessly look on to our existence in the spiritual elements of universe, galaxy, time and space lends its hand to the ritualistic and medieval personality of ‘The Saffron Flame’ and ‘The Golden Orb’, which sets its own commanding force, drizzled with respite and a tease of traditional re-birthing. Permitting a gradual atmospheric residue throughout rather than a traditional black metal underlying, and encapsulated with charming precision, allows for a resonant experience with the Sun God himself. Thematically, atop his golden chariot, the soundscape throughout translates punishing heat, drought, drying winds and human thirst with an uncompromising wrath for humanity, which exemplifies ‘Rise of Thunder’ in its universal power-colliding chariot race.
Despite the rather intense mental and commanding dissonance achieved by ‘When the Chains Become Mine’, remnants of simmering ashes and the extinguishment of all hope is subtly a blessing in contrast, with ‘When The Fire Cools’ a refocusing of self and finality in the aftermath of mother nature. The relationship between light and dark is further convoluted as the sheer confrontation and embracement of light presents itself as the real experience.
Coming in at 102 minutes, ‘Biolume Part 2:The Golden Orb’ signals an impressive path-bearing intent of viking and doom-infused atmospheric metal, combining an eclectic mix of emotionally-captivating atmosphere with imposing medieval and regal structure. While listeners will be drawn by foundations reminiscent of Borknagar, Empyrium, Sojourner and Hammerfall – the soundscape is as grandiose as it is majestic. In terms of atmospheric metal, this is as worthwhile an expedition as there is, leaving the listener powerless to the order of above and at the mercy of the sun as life-giver and life-taker. Midnight Odyssey’s fortunes remain. Will yours change?
Biolume Part 2: The Golden Orb is out on I, Voidhanger Records on March 19, 2021