Album review: MIDNIGHT SUN – Dark Tide Rising

MIDNIGHT SUN - Dark Tide Rising

Sonicbond [Release date 28.06.19]

New Stroud-based prog rock/metal band Midnight Sun claim to be ‘an original rock band’.

Well, for a kick off, the name’s not original, having been ‘pre-owned’ by Danish prog rockers between 1971 and 1974 (whose main claim to fame is possibly that their eponymous 1971 debut and 1972 follow-up sported Roger Dean cover art).

Then there was a Swedish metal band of the same name in the 1990′s.  But hey, who’s counting?

And these guys are no fresh faced kids either.  No, they’ve been around the block a few times and clearly grew up with influences as diverse as Floyd, Genesis, James Brown, Led Zeppelin and Yes, but with their own sound infused with a shot of modern prog and metal.

‘Drop the needle’, metaphorically speaking, and it’s all a bit ‘Fishy’.  That is, there’s a distinct whiff of pre-Hogarth Marillion, albeit with extra keyboard ‘noodlings’, a bit of shredding here and there, and the occasional staccato metal riffery.

All very tastefully done, and very listenable.  And in vocalist, Huw Lloyd-Jones, a convincing sonic focal point.  But ‘original’?  Let’s be sensible.

Progressive rock for today?  Maybe.  But I’m not sure who the target audience is.  Those – like some of the band – who grew up with the ‘originals’ are unlikely to be convinced.  And is there a new generation of converts to be won over?  It remains to be seen, but today’s ‘youth’ seem more interested in ‘events’ like Glasto, where the music is almost secondary to the ‘experience’.

Like so many acts today, Midnight Sun are more than proficient.  But ‘original’?  No, not really.  **1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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