Midnight – Satanic Royalty

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There is a reason that metalheads still love Venom. In many ways, that band is the ultimate example of what idiots poke fun at metal for—sleazy spandex-clad blasphemy with seemingly no sense of humor about itself. But somewhere in Welcome To Hell and Black Metal is a truly awesome coming together of elements (including the time they were released in metal’s history and the production budget) that make them perfect. Such masterpieces are impressive but rarely imitated well.

Midnight are from Cleveland, Ohio, and man, do they fucking love Venom. And with their debut full-length, Satanic Royalty, the band has crafted a worthy tribute to the original kings of hexploitation that, in fact, is only enhanced by its modern-day production and mindset. If one word was out of place, this band would be hilariously ironic to the point of asshole hipsterism, but as they are deadly serious, their use of nonsense phrasing and deplorable vulgarity only strengthens their message of unholy violence and debauchery.

A good example of this is “Rip This Hell”. What does that even mean, “to rip this Hell”? Doesn’t matter. Sounds cool. Sounds metal. That’s the attitude this album takes on—that of doing what’s awesome without asking why, thus embodying the undeniable radness of metal. The songs are all Lemmy-loving thrashers with fuzzy riffs, grating barks, and a nicely mixed drum sound that doesn’t overwhelm the guitars. The opening title track is decent, but “You Can’t Stop Steel” is really the album’s kick-starter. “Necromania” is reliably chuggy modern black thrash, but “Black Damnation” and “Lust, Filth, and Sleaze” just drip with creepy and indulgent musical grossness, particularly the latter (it’s rare when a band outside of hip-hop so brazenly uses the term “bust” in a song). “Violence On Violence” is an awesome early ’80s-esque thrash tune, and closer “Shock Til Blood” is a satisfyingly melodic rocker with one of the better solo duels that metal has heard in a long time.

Midnight’s music manages to span metal’s entire history without succumbing to any cliché concepts of “retro” or “revival”. There’s plenty of NWOBHM-ish speed metal here, but there’s also quite a lot of Darkthrone and Dismember. Satanic Royalty will never sound dated, because it sounds immortally cool.

— Scab Casserole

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HEAR SATANIC ROYALTY

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Midnight – “You Can’t Stop Steel”

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Midnight – “Satanic Royalty”

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Hell’s Headbangers (LP, CD, tape)

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