Midnightstorm is an Italian progressive metal band, and, while the label "Italian progressive metal band" might lead some to suspect that we are dealing with yet another Italian Dream Theater clone, Midnightstorm are the living proof that npt all Italian progressive metal bands are Dream Theater rip-offs. On Downfall Midnightstorm convincingly underline that they are definitely an original band with their own sound.
Definitely progressive, Midnightstorm excel in genre transgression without it seeming like they are doing so (but the inclusion of folk elements, power metal epicisms, acoustic guitars, Maiden-esque twin guitars, reggae/ska elements, melodeath sensitivity, gothic effects, AOR keyboards, etc. is pretty much the essence of genre transgression). What's more, the use of Southern European café style accordions and a general almost bohemian atmosphere add an almost avant-garde dimension to the overall impression that this album makes. While we are not dealing with overly quirky and technical progressive metal, Midnightstorm's compositions are dynamic and semi-complex with some rhythmic ambiguities, yet quite accessible (and definitely interesting).
The vocal melodies - especially in the choruses - have a power metal-esque grandeur to them, and Igor Vetrih's pleasant mid-range voice fit the vocal melodies like a glove and also ensures that the vocals in general remain expressive and melancholic throughout the album. One thing I miss on this album is guitar solos (although there is plenty of guitar work on it though), as I think the would have gone well- together with the lush keyboard arrangements and could have, if drawing on jazz or something like that, added further to the supple genre transgression present on the album - as exemplified by the Spanish guitar solo in the beginning of 'Spes Ultima Dea'.
Downfall is an interesting progressive metal release which is characterized by a fine balance between progressivity and accessibility and should appeal to those who are looking for original progressive metal.
1. 1000 Proof Serenade
2. Among the Snakes
3. The Old Man Challenges the Mountain
4. Stone Fields
5. Our Hearts of Straw
7. In This Ivy Cage…
9. … We Drown
10. Spes Ultima Dea