Midnight – Let There Be Witchery
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 04/03/2022
Running Time: 34:50
Review by Rory Bentley
I’ve ruffled plenty of feathers during my time writing about music / generally being an obnoxious dickhead over the years. I can’t help myself, I was born a horrible little rotter with a big gob and it’s peeved plenty of people, but if I think something is derivative or painfully average and people are drooling over it I have to say my piece, and I usually phrase it like an absolute bell end. Just ask my new friends in Veonity. To illustrate what I mean, I think the last two Exodus albums are inessential cack with no songs, I’m never going to listen to the new Saxon album and I couldn’t give two shits about 99% of Thrash revival bands that everyone raves about. It’s predictable, boring and doing nothing to move things forward. SO WHY THE FUCK DO I LOVE MIDNIGHT SO MUCH??!!
Honestly mates, I’m not sure I can accurately answer that with anything more eloquent than they fucking rip! Sometimes the execution is more important than the idea and nobody executes evil, thrashed up proto-Black Metal with as much joy and shit kicking charm as Midnight. They sound like the band I want Venom to be. Don’t get me wrong – I respect Venom and their importance to the evolution of heavy music, but they can’t play their instruments and the records sound like shit. Midnight brings the cartoonish horror fun of The Misfits, throws in some NWOBHM riffing, filters it through some Black Metal scuzz and chucks it back in your face with the grizzled swagger of Motörhead. The resulting mutant sonic ooze is something that even a snobbish hack weasel like me can’t resist.
‘Telepathic Nightmare’ has me tapping my foot and mean-mugging straight out the gate with mastermind Jamie ‘Athenar’ Walters barking ghoulish chants over disorienting Voivod style riffs. ‘Frothing Foulness’ sounds like Lemmy and the boys fronted by somebody suffering from severe tourettes and ‘In Sinful Secrecy’ sounds like a group of swamp monsters decided to form a Hair Metal band. Three songs in and I can’t get enough of this filth.
By the time the Garage Punk sleaze of ‘Nocturnal Molestation’ oozes out of the speakers I give zero fucks about the lack of innovation here, I just want to chug a beer and drop kick the can into my neighbour’s garden while my better half screams at me to turn this racket down! You see the clever thing Midnight does is act as a sort of 80’s Metal magpie, shrewdly curating the choicest licks and gnarliest riffs from classic bands and blending them into a satisfying cocktail that makes every record feel like a greatest hits album of a forgotten Thrash legend. By casting the net deceptively wide into the annals of classic Metal, Athenar is able to season his core template of Speed Metal filth with spicy samples of satanic-panic staples so every song has a distinct feel even if it’s not deviating wildly from the core sound.
‘More Torment’ has a lurching Danzig groove that breaks up the more savage moments of ‘Let There Be Witchery’, while ‘Let There Be Sodomy’ has an evil sounding tremolo intro and the kind of chorus I wouldn’t allow my nieces to listen to. This is an album bursting with moments that will make you punch the air and grin like an idiot and those moments will be stuck in your head whether you want them there or not!
Like a kebab after leaving the pub too late, I don’t need a new Midnight record, but if you give me the option I will run through a brick wall to gobble one up. I’m shouting ‘Villainy Wretched Villainy at my cat now and I couldn’t be happier, so what are you waiting for? Give in to another helping of grimy, tongue-in-cheek, life-affirming speed metal written by one bloke with a bag on his head! You won’t hear a more fun 35 minutes all year.
01. Telepathic Nightmare
02. Frothing Foulness
03. In Sinful Secrecy
04. Nocturnal Molestation
05. More Torment
06. Let There Be Sodomy
07. Devil Virgin
08. Snake Obsession
09. Villainy Wretched Villainy
10. Szex Witchery
Athenar- Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.