No Mercy for Mayhem

Written by: EW on 10/08/2014 12:53:06

Rather like my opening comment in the review for the new Bölzer EP here we have another act who have developed a hugely appreciated name deep in the metal underground over the last year or two: Midnight. In this case however the love has come from a wide-eyed appreciation of Midnight’s working of the down’n’dirty black/speed metal template rather than offering anything quite as new as the Swiss duo, proving that sometimes all you need is a developed sense of how to work primary influences into a coherent and enjoyable pastiche and the backing of the oft fickle underground hordes. I came a little late to the party with the US teams’ 2011 debut LP "Satanic Royalty" but here with "No Mercy for Mayhem" the same line is being trodden, albeit with a touch more clarity and possibly an extra greater degree of the debauched depravity that is essentially their calling card in a world containing numerous other acts riffing off Motörhead, Venom and Sodom.

One of those acts is Toxic Holocaust, who by way of comparison do not offer the expertise of Midnight in varying their tempos nor matching seedy lyrical subject matter with musical performances of a similarly unsavoury nature. First song proper "Evil Like A Knife" sets the tone for the blackened punk onslaught and while it certainly ain’t bright or clever it is immeasurably appealing to the urban, pissed up element of the metal world high on passion (and possibly other stimulants) out looking for some non-PC fun: mutinous guitars squeal over d-beat drum attacks while mainman Athenar gurgles out tales of hell, sex and Satan in manner derived from the two gods of this genre, Lemmy and Cronos. All of that is undoubtedly pleasing, but where Midnight steal a march on their rivals is by not hammering this point home at an incessant top speed; "Prowling Leather" follows with a stronger groove and fist-pumping chorus in 3½ minutes of pure demonic intent; the title track sounds like a post-coital comedown through the proud delivery of "NO MERCY FOR MAYHEM!" and it’s successive lead melody; before "The Final Rape of Night" is an aggressive leap for the spiritual jugular of Venom and as surefire a guarantee of live performances with ample opportunities for air guitar built within. The Motörhead and whisky flavoured "Degradation" at a punky 2½ minutes still finds time for a bluesy solo to provide some tongue-in-cheek credence to it’s anarchist heart before the album continues on it’s sexual conquest with "Woman of Flame" in a slower, Athenar-led track that would not be out of place on Armour’s S/T LP, my ultimate Friday night metal party album.

At 11 tracks and 36 minutes Midnight are conscious enough to keep this short and sweet as maintaining such a level of energy and interest in the listener becomes gradually harder past the 40 minute mark. The lack of filler material says something about Midnight’s ability for musical self-control and self-awareness: "No Mercy for Mayhem" is not about progression or expertise but the product of an urban (male) metalhead’s mind put to tape without the worry of an authority judgement. I’m not sure what career options are available for a sound like Midnight’s but where other acts are too speed obsessed (Speedwolf, Toxic Holocaust), over-produced (Horned Almighty) or cliché (Heretic) the end result here is a devilish collection of tracks that powers from start to finish fully intent on drinking your whisky, fucking your woman and stealing your record collection. It’s all about whether you wish to put up a fight.

Download: No Mercy for Mayhem, The Final Rape of Night, Destroy Tsunami’s Power
For The Fans Of: Venom, Motörhead, Speedwolf
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.08.2014
Hell’s Headbangers Records

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