Midnight Odyssey - _Funerals From the Astral Sphere_
(I, Voidhanger, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
I, Voidhanger is a record label like no other; from the relatively short time of my acquaintance with its activity, I have discovered this is one of the very few labels out there that actually provide a holistic experience for their costumers, namely a musical product that isn't merely a musical product, but a semi work of art. The artful packaging, the elaborate and colorful cover art, the amazing layout of the printed material, the booklets, the lyrics -- they all shine and scream quality; no corners cut here, with any of the label's releases.

In addition, it seems the label picks up the bands it joins with its roster using a pair of tweezers; here, quality counts, not the abominable quantity. Every release seeing the light of day in the relatively short time this young label has existed owns a unique stamp both of quality and originality, be it the label's ambitious dark ambient tribute project dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft , the old-school death metal of Serpent Ascending, or the astral black metal played by the subject of this review, the one-man grand show also known as Midnight Odyssey.

Now, talking about ambitions, _Funerals From the Astral Sphere_ is one hell of an ambitious project, spanning a couple of CDs and more than a couple of hours worth of music. Wow, talk about pretensions...

...And yet, easily enough, the artist behind this band, the sole member here, accomplishes a rather elaborate work with class and fluency that easily complement the handsome facade of the aforementioned beautiful packaging and rare physical aesthetics of this double album. Easily.

You see, _Funerals From the Astral Sphere_ is a likable release, easy on the ear and one that places no challenging obstacles on the listener's road to catharsis, simply because it plays the most common denominator role of them all by delivering music that everyone can simply love, from the bored housewife to the most snot-nosed Internet warrior kid who thinks that listening to black metal will make him tough.

That being said, the album is not -that- mainstream in essence; it is just really beautiful and friendly; everyone, from the common metalhead to the seeker of celestial ballads or the aficionado of quality vocal music could be satisfied with this album -- each with whatever part of the music suits them best, either the ambient black metal, the astral sonic-scapes or the singing. They are all done well, some are simply downright beautiful.

The most striking aspect of this album, and that is a quality I have rarely heard in metal or into that, in black metal, is the ability of the creator of the music to tag it with astral qualities and actually deliver; writing music that would very much sound as if it came from beyond this world; music that will sound other-worldly, spacey, almost divine, emanating strong metaphysical star dust while playing, illuminating rather than darkening. I've not heard yet the works of the Swiss band Darkspace, but I am familiar with Limbonic Art's couple of first albums, as well as Odium's _The Sad Realm of the Stars_ and even the new Nychts / Mortualia _Nebelstern Des Nichts_ collaboration, and I tell you Midnight Odyssey easily captures the 'astral' sound at least as well, if not better, than any of the great aforementioned albums.

If you like your musical experience holistic, your metal spiritual and beautiful without the need to labor too hard in order to like, or 'understand' the music, put this record on, close your eyes -- and fly...

Contact: http://www.i-voidhanger.com/

(article published 1/11/2011)


ALBUMS
7/29/2012 C Drishner 8 Midnight Odyssey - Firmament
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