Midgard – “We are the Destroyer” – installment 3, “Ignite the Shattered Sky”

Midgard - Ignite the Shattered Sky album cover

Today’s blog installment will talk about the “Ignite the Shattered Sky” EP, released in 2004 and probably the record most different from the rest of Midgard’s back catalogue.

Ignite the Shattered Sky

Fast forward to 2002, and Midgard is a very different band from where we were only a year prior. After a lineup change that saw us become a five-piece band (with me relinquishing guitar duties to only perform vocals), and several changes to that lineup, we tried our hand at a heavier sound influenced by modern (for the time) thrash metal – Darkane, Dew-Scented, and bands of that ilk. The lineup was different, the sound was different, the songwriting, which was previously very centralized, was more spread out. And then, it all fell apart.

Just as we were starting to talk about going back to the studio to record our new material and to make a concerned push for making music our career, our trip to 2002 Milwaukee Metalfest was a disaster that pretty much broke up the band. For a time being, there was no certainty that Midgard would even continue, let alone that any of the music would end up being recorded. Still, this band was a beast that refused to die.

We had some good songs left over from that interim period. The key songwriters were still in the band, and we brought back Andrew (guitar) from “Within the Darkness” lineup. We still had issues with filling the bass player and drummer positions, but those were surmountable issues, especially after we met Shru, who agreed to play drums on the eventual record (ironically, just as we were about to ask him to join the band full-time, he let us know that he was moving out of state – but he was still kind enough to record his drums for the album). At the time, we hoped to do a full-length album with five new songs, and two re-recorded “Within the Darkness” tracks… but of course, plans tend to go awry.

“Ignite the Shattered Sky” was recorded in early 2003, though the album was not released for another year, and even when it came out, it ended up being far different from the original intention. The songs ended up having a transitionary, experimental feel that sometimes worked, and sometimes did not, though the lack of a stable full lineup and the lack of shows to promote the record did not help. The “Ignite” lineup did not as much break up as drift away into separate projects, putting the existence of the band into question and leaving us with half-finished album. By the time we finished the four tracks that made the EP, the band essentially consisted of just myself and Andrew, and though we eventually recruited a bass player and a drummer to complete the band, the plans to keep that lineup going came to a screeching halt as Andrew relocated out of state, and we could not find an adequate replacement.

Out of “Ignite” tracks, “Never Again” was actually written around the time of “Within the Darkness”, and was excluded from that album as we did not have time to properly rehearse it for the studio. The title track actually went through several incarnations with the pre-Milwaukee Midgard lineup, and while the final version was perhaps more melodic than the one we performed live, it is an interesting relic of that era. It was also Eric’s (guitar) first full writing contribution on a Midgard record, along with “Grey Seconds Crawl”, a very different song for us where I sung clean all the way, giving it an almost power/heavy metal feel. “Supremacy” was a curious leftover – as a heavy, fast song with pronounced death/thrash feel, it sounded like it belonged in our death/thrash period, but was actually never a part of that lineup’s set list.

Overall, “Ignite” is a strange record for us. It was done without a stable band lineup, took stabs at several different musical directions, was not given much support or promotional effort, and was not heard by many people. As a result, it represents an interesting “what might have been” for us, a chronicle of a turbulent time, and an experiment, however, there is still some very good material on it that deserves to be heard. The “Ignite the Shattered Sky” EP can be downloaded from BandCamp (“pay-what-you-want” download) at:

https://midgard.bandcamp.com/album/ignite-the-shattered-sky

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