Saturday, September 27, 2014

Midnight-No Mercy for Mayhem

Hells Headbangers

About a week ago I was strumming through my vinyl collection when I came across Boulder's "555" and I found myself wondering what Jamie Walters was up to? And then it hit me. Wait, isn't my (One time? Current?) neighbor* doing his thing in Midnight? Sure enough and here it is. "No Mercy for Mayhem" is the latest labor of love from Jamie Walters and company and it's everything that we have come to know and expect from this crass, vile and utterly unholy Cleveland band and then some! The last time we checked in with this black n' rolled, punk speed metal band was by way of the compilation disc "Complete and Total Hell". That was 2012 though and in-between that crazy cool compilation and this full-length endeavor the band released a live album, one EP and and a cover of Venom's "Too Loud (for the Crowd)". That particular Venom cover is as good a place as any to start when discussing Midnight's role in the grand scheme of things. But, here is the thing. Seeing as Midnight draws from such a wide range of sources** and marches to the beat of it's own diabolical drummer (which, at least on the 2CD version of "No Mercy for Mayhem" that features Midnight's previously-mentioned live outing, "Alive on the Streets of Cleveland", would be SS) it's nowhere near that easy to define the who, what and where of this occult outfit. Not that it should be easy to pinpoint Midnight's sound and style! What would be the point of it all if Midnight were just to fall easily into some neat little box? Instead we should just consider who is running this lot and accept the fact that just like the other band's that Jamie (aka: Athenar) has been involved with (Mach II, Sweet Roxx, Boulder, Destructor, Terminal Lovers, Toxic Holocaust (live), Abdullah, King Travolta and Hangnail) Midnight runs things it's own way and they are all the better because of that! "No Mercy for Mayhem" is blackened speed metal and it does contain crusty old punk rock and hardcore reference marks, but it also Midnight's own (unmistakable and unholy) brand of noise! If you've heard Midnight before and dug what the band was thrash rockin' on about then you should snag and bag this new disc (preferably in the two disc format as it's all the more spicy!). If you've never experienced this band before then treed carefully. You should still buy the album (or again, the two disc CD version as it's even tastier!) and all, but I would treed carefully nonetheless! As a final note sometimes I find it amazing that a band like Midnight hails from the hometown of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For all intensive purposes Midnight destroys rock and roll and I mean that in the best way possible! But then maybe rock and roll should be destroyed? Or at least that shame of a building called The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? In it's place we could build a new "holy site" dedicated to Ohio's true saving grace, it's metal scene! And (naturally) right off the bat we would induct bands like Midnight! This time I really think I'm on to something....

*Back before Jamie (aka: Athenar as he is known in Midnight) founded this (killer) blackened speed metal project he played in Boulder (among several other bands). And as it turned out Boulder's contact information happened to be located in my hometown. And yes, It does still boggle my mind that the same (extremely cool) guy that once sent me misc. Boulder merchandise is now fronting one of the most compelling black metal bands out there!

**What I love absolutely about Midnight (besides it's front-man) is how they are able to take what are essentially some of my all-time favorite bands (Motörhead, Tank, Raven, Exciter, Venom, Mantis, (early) Metallica, Megadeath, Slayer, Possessed, (early) Sodom, ("Gates to Purgatory"/"Branded and Exiled'-era) Running Wild, Warrant (the German one duh!), Discharge, The Exploited, Carnivore and (on the newer side of things and also connected to Hells Headbangers) Speedwolf, Crucified Mortals, Tiger Junkies and Intöxicated) and (by way of mystical magic and/or occult practices) turn them into blackened metal mania!  

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