Midnight Eternal: American Symphonic Metal from NYC
Written by Brett Kihlmire
When Operatika Element took a hiatus the band’s keyboardist Boris Zaks and guitarist Richard Fischer were unwillingly to take a break from music. Putting their minds and a passion for power and symphonic metal they developed a new band that was originally meant as a side project. Enter Midnight Eternal.
Two years after formation Midnight Eternal stands with Zaks and Fischer in their respective roles, but with the addition of Raine Hilai (vocals), Dan Prestup (drums), and Greg Manning (bass) to round out what has now become a full band and not just a studio project as originally intended.
Blending their shared love of bands such as Helloween, Sonata Arctica, Kamelot, Nightwish, Stratovarius, and many more, Zaks and Hilai share the writing duties for the band and bring a strong European style to an American band. This sound is exemplified by Hilai’s background in musical theater, which allows for a more powerful vocal approach than most bands commonly found in the American scene.
Building a strong following in their hometown of New York City, the band has expanded its influence across the nation and even into Europe and Japan in a relatively short period of time. Hilai credits their success to being picked up by Swedish record label , Inner Wound Records, through which they released their debut self-titled full length album on April 29th, 2016.
“I think we’ve done really well in two years,” says Hilai. “Obviously the way that industry is nowadays there’s a lot of challenge for independent bands. Landing a record deal doesn’t mean you’re going to be doing music full time.”
Ever focused on building their brand and making a name for themselves in the heavy metal community, Midnight Eternal has released two music videos. The first video was a semi-live action lyric video for the single ‘First Time Thrill.’ And while this track certainly whetted appetites, Midnight Eternal released second video, this time fully live action, for the single ‘Signs of Fire’ just weeks before the album’s release. And while the video for ‘First Time Thrill’ has amassed over 20,000 hits and was well-received, ‘Signs of Fire’ crushed those numbers with over 300,000 hits since being released.
Their first album not even a year old yet the band is already looking toward the future with hopes to have their sophomore effort released sometime in 2017.
“It’s very, very early. We’re in the process of writing and demoing, so it’s probably not going to be anytime too soon,” says Hilai.
Given the band’s dedication and ability to churn out quality music and media, there’s little question as to whether the band will be able to release a second album in 2017 if they wish to. Of course, for the time being the band is more focused on a major step forward in their career – a US tour with Queensryche and Armored Saint.
From November 15th to December 15th the band will be travelling their home country in support of these two legendary bands.
“We’re going to be everywhere pretty much. It starts in Seattle and ends in Colorado and we’re going to be in New York between those two dates, so we’ll be crossing the country twice. Twenty-two dates in total,” says Hilai enthusiastically. “I think a lot of the people coming out won’t know us, but I think they’ll enjoy our live show.”
Seeing their upcoming tour as an important, door opening step in their career, Hilai says the band hopes to be able to cross the ocean and tour Europe and perhaps even Japan as early as 2017. Europe, however, will be the more likely course of action, if the given the chance, for although the band is represented in Japan, Europe is seen as the next logical step for a symphonic metal band.