Shards of Silver Fade
8th June 2015 – I, Voidhanger Records
01. From A Frozen Wasteland
02. Hunter Of The Celestial Sea
03. Son Of Phoebus
04. A Ghost In Gleaming Stars
05. Asleep Is The Fire
06. Starlight Oblivion
07. Darker Skies Once Radiant
08. Shards Of Silver Fade
Midnight Odyssey is a one-man black metal project from Australian Dis Pater. Well, it’s one of them anyway; he’s also known for Tempestuous Fall and The Crevices Below, both of which focus on different strains of black metal. But with those both being deactivated, Midnight Odyssey is his sole vessel, and his new ambient black metal album Shards Of Silver Fade has just seen release.
As with the reticulated python, Dave Mustaine’s career, and Ron Jeremy, its length is easily the most daunting thing about it. Even if this weren’t ambient black metal, the total run-time of two hours and twenty three minutes would surely put many off. It allegedly took Dis Pater four years to write and record , which makes sense, as Funerals From The Astral Sphere, the last album from the project and an album that boasted a similar length, was released in 2011.
So, with that truly leviathan length in mind, is this album worth the journey? Absolutely. It’s important to keep in mind the type of music that one is getting from this. A two hour-long progressive metal album would possibly be seen as a bit excessive even by hardcore fans, but this is ambient black metal, which embraces the long form with a gusto that few other genres can match.
Shards Of Silver Fade maintains a steady focus on ethereal and spacey vibes, while switching between various approaches and takes on those basic themes. The composition fuses slower, doomier qualities with black metal and something almost darkwave-like. Dis Pater manages to keep the atmosphere coherent and consistent throughout, which takes some doing. Within the songs, too, there is a decent amount of variation to keep the listener hanging on, though it still generally follows the same over-arching idea.
In juxtaposition with the going image of black metal, Shards of Silver Fade nails it in the mixing category. While the vocals are certainly the loudest thing, everything else sounds pristine, and even the vocals are generally well-mixed in, sometimes fading to the background when it is called for. The drums sound very crystalline and the keyboards even more so. In fact, the keyboard sounds might be the most enjoyable part of the album, with layers upon layers working off of the guitar, drums, and vocals to build up a very celestial atmosphere.
Speaking of the vocals, they are beneficiaries of the most improvement from the last record. Slow, clean chants invoke a pretty ambience, whilst more spare harsh vocals – buried a bit more in the mix – add a level of abrasion to the songs, as do the background vocals that act more akin to another layer of keyboards than actual vocalisation.
Shards of Silver Fade is a fairly enjoyable album to listen to in sparse doses. The atmosphere is wrapped in a shimmering beauty and the delicate void of space. The material tends to get a bit same-y, which causes the album to drag on a bit towards the end, but a dedicated listener should be able to enjoy that anyways. The arrangements are well done, especially the various keyboard sounds. It is a musical journey through celestial voids and space, the final frontier. Shards of Silver Fade is the kind of album to listen to in the dark with a star projector going. It is decent, but not really anything amazing, and the length makes it a far more daunting listen than most others of its ilk.