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The Wandering Midget : From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams

The Wandering Midget have produced an impressive album both in terms of songwriting and musical approach.

It took him 4 years, but at last the Midget is once again wandering around my living room (wish he would stop looking at my bottles of wine, but that's another story). So far, the Finnish trio has been known for their excellent take on Doom Metal the way Reverend Bizarre and their ancestors used to play it, albeit with a bit more occultism inside. Nothing really new, but all very well done: why not then indulge into this guilty pleasure?

If 'The Serpent Coven' was their 'In The Rectory', then this 'From The Meadows Of Opium Dreams' is their 'Harbinger Of Metal', so to speak. The first thing that'll strike the listener, before even having heard the first notes, is the fact that there are only 4 songs. Why now? Has the Midget decided to release an EP or what? No, not at all: it's just that 3 out of the 4 tracks go far beyond the 10 minute mark.

The album opens with the classic 'Prince Of Fire'. Classic in the sense that it's a perfect tribute to old-school European Doom, from Candlemass to Count Raven and beyond. Monolithic rhythm section, funerary riffs and a howling voice worthy of whatever occult ritual you can think of. You've heard it done a thousand times before, and yet the Midget manages to make it sound as good and as fresh as if it had just been created for the first time. The kind of song that will make some head bang when played live.

'Temples In The Sky' is the largest part: clocking in at no less than 20 minutes, this song is a pure doomed rollercoaster ride, bringing in psychedelic and progressive elements that'll make your mind go numb. It sounds like a warped version of 'Strange Horizons', yet with a somewhat twisted way of delivering the goods. Still, while good, this song is far from perfect : the intro is a bit too long (nearly 5 minutes) and the song in itself sometimes sounds like two 10 minute tracks being forcefully mixed to make a single 20 minute one. Maybe it would have been a better idea to make it a two-part song.

Such is not the case with the awesome 'She-Wolf' : dark and brooding, oozing Doom and despair with every riff and cry, this track is the living proof that The Wandering Midget have matured in a good way. Here, their own personality takes the reins and this erotic tale of bestial lust never sounds cheesy. It runs in the final track, another magnificent winner : for if 'She-Wolf' was about dark passions, then 'Follow The Forest Lights' is a gloomy piece of occult Doom whose dark psychedelic elements should be enjoyed by fans of the Italian scene. But it's never a copycat either: the horror and gothic elements are just there to better convey the hallucinating images coming to mind.

Despite the length of every track, the band have managed to create something that is never boring and always surprises you with unexpected twists and turns. An impressive release both in terms of songwriting and musical approach, and without a doubt one of the Trad Doom highlights of 2012.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Prince Of Fire
2. Temples In The Sky
3. She-Wolf
4. Follow The Forest Lights

Duration : Approx. 56 minutes

Visit the The Wandering Midget bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-10-13 by Laurent Lignon
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