BLACK/ SPEED METAL | CLEVELAND/ USA
RELEASED VIA HELLS HEADBANGER RECORDS IN 2011
Some bands out there have a profound message, some bands are technical geniuses, some bands are creative visionaries. All these things have their places. But some bands just simply feel great to listen to, and that definitely covers Ohio’s underground legends Midnight. The first time I played Satanic Royalty, it took me all of twenty seconds to grin broadly and jam the volume up as far as it would go. By the end of the album, there was no reasonable recourse except to hit Play again and carry right on…
Best summarized musically as standing with one foot on each of Venom and Motorhead and occasionally leaning on Iron Maiden for balance, Midnight are triumphantly and unashamedly metal, swinging with swaggering ease between raw black-speed power and borderline NWOBHM-esque melodic sensibilities without ever losing their intrinsic heads-down-see-you-at-the-end momentum. Spirited, raucous, aggressive, begging to be blasted out of any available open window at the loudest volume you can possibly achieve, Midnight are better than drugs and possibly even more of a threat to society. If you buy this album and your neighbours don’t know and hate every song on it inside a week, you’re doing something wrong.
It stands up well to repetition, too, despite the simplicity of the basic formula – I’ve been playing Satanic Royalty all weekend and it’s worn in as comfortably as an old leather jacket. I keep feeling like I’ve owned this album for a decade, despite the fact that it was only released in 2011. Highlight tracks? I’d maybe single out “Rip This Hell” with its snarling groove, or the blood-heat intensity of “Savage Dominance”; and an honourable mention should go too to “Black Damnation”, the token slower, moodier number that offers a touch of atmosphere and some gorgeous lead guitar work.
But in all honesty there isn’t a song on here I don’t like, and I’m finding it hard to think of any real downsides to this album at all (unless of course you consider too much eighties worship to be a bad thing.) It’s even got an authentic back-masked intro, what more could you ask for? [9/10 – KIT RATHENAR]