Midgard – “We are the Destroyer” installment 2 – “Within the Darkness”

Midgard - Within the Darkness cover

In preparation for release of the new Midgard album later this week, I thought I should share a retrospective of our past releases to get you ready for what is to come. Here is the first installment, dealing with our 2001 debut EP, “Within the Darkness”!

Within the Darkness

You can look at our first release, and find that very little of that band remains now. Only one person from that lineup is still in the band; only one song from “Within the Darkness” regularly makes the set list when we play live. And yet, I think that it, more than anything, defined the style of music we are still performing to this day.

For many of us at the time, this was our first recording experience. Though Midgard was already a band for about a year at the time we went into the studio, we spent much of that first year figuring out what we wanted to do, who would be in the first stable band lineup, and what kind of music we would write. Needless to say, “Within the Darkness” has elements of what the band would eventually become, but also harkens back to our beginnings trying to figure out if we wanted to be a heavy metal band, a death metal band, a doom metal band, or something in between.

I think that most start-up bands go through that stage when they start writing their own music, and try to do something different from rewriting “War Pigs”, “Angel of Death”, “Hammer Smashed Face”, or whatever their members tend to listen to. You can hear our influences on “Within the Darkness” – there is a healthy dose of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity in the title track and “Sky Falls Down”, while “Passion” (which we still occasionally play live) harkens back to older Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride – with instrumental “Requiem” split in its own separate track, but it might as well have been an intro to “Passion”. “Terminus” is the kind of song that every start-up band probably writes at some point, a straight-up, primitive death metal track with little frills that actually predated Midgard by a couple of years, and probably was the product of a time, but it fits the album. Ironically, “Failure of Utopia” was the last song written for the EP, and almost did not make the cut, as we were unsure if it was sufficiently rehearsed, but it ended up being a fan favorite, and we still get requests to play it now. Maybe some day we will make a point of relearning how to play it and adding it to a set – I am sure it will make quite a few people in Colorado happy!

As a side note, we were originally planning to include eight tracks on “Within the Darkness”, and did the drums for two more songs, “Into the Crimson Unknown” and “Inside the God”. At the time, we were having difficulty playing the songs to make them sound good – we struggled with making the fast part in the middle of “Into the Crimson Unknown” sound clear, and I think that at some point, we pretty much just gave up on “Inside the God”. I still have those drum tracks, and in fact we ended up recording guitars, bass, and vocals for “Into the Crimson Unknown” during the “Satellite” sessions, eleven years later. “Inside the God” did not receive such treatment, though perhaps at some point, we may revisit that recording and finish it (I have to be honest – it was not a bad song for the time, but I don’t think it would stand up well against the material we wrote since).

Does this sound interesting? If so, BandCamp has “Within the Darkness” available for “pay-what-you-want” download:

https://midgard.bandcamp.com/album/within-the-darkness

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