Published on June 3rd, 2020 | by Justin G.
One Desire: Midnight Empire (Frontiers, 2020)
Now that we’ve had a while to savor the latest releases from H.E.A.T and The Night Flight Orchestra, all eyes turned to the second One Desire album as the next eagerly anticipated melodic rock release. The band made a huge impact with their self-titled 2017 release, and expectations were very high for album #2, which is titled Midnight Empire.
I have to admit, this one caught me off guard at first. I expected another ten or so songs in the “Hurt” vein. One Desire apparently needed to spread their wings a bit, and while a bunch of short, catchy melodic rockers would have been fun, the songs on Midnight Empire are a bit more challenging. For one thing, they’re longer. 5-6+ minute songs are hardly the norm for melodic rock, and that’s clearly still the core sound here. They’re a bit more complex and more emotionally resonant, which is a plus when you consider how cookie-cutter so many melodic rock bands’ lyrics can get. There’s also a darker element and occasionally a metallic vibe. Like Eden’s Curse covering Work Of Art, if you can imagine that.
If you’re looking for songs that sound more like the ones on the debut, “After You’re Gone” scratches that itch in a big way, even if it is 5+ minutes long. “Godsent Extasy” and “Heroes” get the job done as well. Still, it’s songs like the darker “Shadowman” and slow build, acoustic to metallic “Through The Fire” (apparently written for Whitesnake) that really stay with you and make you realize how much potential this band really has.
One Desire threw us a curve ball with Midnight Empire, but it’s one of those albums that reveals itself more and more with each listen. It helps that it’s just a really good album. We’re in an era where there are dozens of soulless, interchangeable melodic rock bands out there, so to stand out you have to either be amazing at what you do (see: Eclipse, Work Of Art) or be willing to break the mold and push your sound to new heights. That’s what One Desire did here. I’ll be coming back to this album a lot in the months to come.
Summary: Different from the debut, but still a hell of a melodic rock album