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We initially got wind of Midnight Eternal in 2014 when Richard Fischer (guitar/vocals) and Boris Zaks (keys), both of Operatika fame, pooled their resources of Daniel Prestup (drums) from Spider Rockets and Mike LePond from Symphony X, along with adding Raine Hilai as lead vocalist. Raine had experience in theater and added a unique touch to the overall sound. They would later add Greg Manning on bass. A two track demo caught traction and has resulted in the 2016 self-titled album, ‘Midnight Eternal’.

With an enormous pool of experience from Operatika, one would expect a fantastic genre busting collaboration from Fischer & Boris Zaks and their Spider Rockets colleagues. What we get instead is a below average romp down an all too familiar road. This isn’t to say that every track is unoriginal; on the contrary, there are a number of tracks that come off as real winners. Unfortunately, they are clumped in between uninspired works that aren’t worth your time.

If I had to pick out three tracks that are genuinely good, I would go with track #2, ‘Repentance’; #4, ‘Shadow Falls’ and the title track. These offer great use of keys to accent some powerful chords and Hilai really shines within each track. Hilai, at first, can be a bit hard to grasp, with a very different tone to her voice than what you may be used to with similar bands. Once you give it a few listens it can actually start to grow on you. She has a very 1980s way of belting the lyrics at you in a near Cyndi Lauper style that is commendable.

‘Signs of Fire’ is the first track that was given the works with a music video available online. I can honestly say I was shocked to see that someone picked this as a way to draw the listener in to checking out the album. The lyrics are miserably plain, the chorus is weak-sauce, all the while never really getting anywhere for 4 minutes. Unimpressive to say the least.

‘The Lantern’ is also another one that brings this release down. More of the same in every aspect; however, it does kick off with a nice build with various keys and instruments. We’ve just heard all of this before many, many, many times… and don’t get me started on the chorus. It still haunts my dreams…

I wouldn’t say that this debut album is terrible by any means, but it just comes off as severely underwhelming with nothing new to offer the genre. It doesn’t break any new ground. However, if you are desperate for yet another symphonic metal band in the style of Delain or Nightwish, then please give this a spin. You might dig it.
Inner Wound Recordings
Review by Joshua Jaeger
29th April 2016
1) Till the Bitter End
2) Repentance
3) Signs of Fire
4) Shadows Fall; 5) The Lantern
6) Believe in Forever
7) Midnight Eternal
8) When Love and Faith Collide
9) Like an Eternity
10) Silence
11) Pilgrim and the Last Voyage
12) First Time Thrill
"...a below average romp down an all too familiar road."