Cleveland masked miscreants Midnight return with a another slab of sleaze in Let There Be Witchery. The title is a combination of the song titles “Let There Be Sodomy” and “Szex Witchery,” using titles that combine sex and the occult. Lust, which can always be paired with the devil, seems the driving force behind the group’s lyrics.
Midnight’s musical style is the perfect fit for their vulgar concepts. This is no candle-and-rose-petals romance music. It’s better suited for alley-way romps behind stinky garbage dumpsters. Their black ‘n’ roll style is a collection of influences including punk, heavy metal, NWOBHM, black metal and speed metal. Athenar certainly had his fill of Venom when developing his rugged voice.
An album as filthy and British metal inclined as Let There Be Witchery seems tailor-made for Motörhead influences, which appear on “Let There Be Sodomy.” “Szex Witchery” has some classic speed metal riffing. Overall, guitar riffs are quite catchy. Guitar solos are an important aspect of this album. They were created spontaneously and it shows in how well the solos flow.
“In Sinful Secrecy” has a arena rock grand opening reminiscent of something Twisted Sister or Quiet Riot would have done. “Devil Virgin” shows a Mercyful Fate influence (think “Evil”), in particular the “disco hi-hat beat,” as Athenar described it. The drum sound is very loud and booming and really drives the album. The audible bass fits nicely with the drums, too. “Snake Obsession” contains an impressive bass-drums combination.
While their style recalls heavy sounds from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Noah Buchanan’s production is very modern and upfront. The guitars still have a jagged edge, but the sound is pretty clean, overall. It’s very important to the anthemic repetition of the vocals to really shine. Tracks such as “Let There Be Sodomy” and “Nocturnal Molestation” feature memorable chorus lines that would be great for singing and pumping fists (don’t crash!) on a long drive in the car.
Midnight are a throwback band in so many ways, but the group does manage to put their own imprint on Let There Be Witchery. Their lyrical and physical imagery certainly separates the group. It’s a fun black metal album that recalls the old days when heavy metal was something fun to not be taken so seriously as black metal of today often is. Also, they have excellent execution and strong songwriting chops. Catchy vocal and musical hooks make this a fun record for booze-fueled backyard parties or satanic S & M dungeon lairs.
(released March 4, 2022 on Metal Blade Records)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Midnight – “Szex Witchery” Video