So, I sit there, listening to this outstanding record and amaze myself about how little music I manage to listen and how many great releases pass by unnoticed.
Formed by Athenar as a solo side-project, initially for a short period of time (he only planned to release EPs and splits), Midnight becomes a standard in what black/speed metal represents.
The fourth Midnight full-length, “Rebirth by Blasphemy” was released on 24 January 2020.
Little more than 33 minutes, of (what some might say) black/speed metal and this record turned out to be one of the most interesting releases of January 2020.
The first thing that comes to my mind is that this album was created by the effort of one single person, mostly. Athenar created this full length from scratch and wrote all the musical paths. I know, it’s not a unique situation as a lot of other bands are in the same spot; but, let’s be honest… all those riffs and drum patterns, all those rock ’n roll vibes, well, I’m impressed…
It was when I decided to review this record when the new video “Fucking Speed and Darkness” was released. Needless to say that from that moment on, it was on repeat.
The full-length debuts with the one song that stuck into my brainz for hours (Fucking Speed and Darkness). After this song, I don’t know what else you could wish from a good album. Incisive riffs that never stops halfway through a song, some intricate concocting of genres that makes everything more thrilling…
Don’t get me wrong! This is not some sort of catchy heavy metal material. This is serious speed metal with the inevitable influences from the traditional metal (I’m thinking Bathory, maybe) and sometimes with rock’ n roll vibes! I especially like the vocals which are extremely powerful and with a personal tonality that is never too high or screamed. The voice on this record is like a focal point, balanced, well-produced but also aggressive.
From the first track, “Fucking Speed and Darkness”, the sound is extremely intense and energetic with lots of fast parts and riffs. “Escape the grave”, the third song, is even darker, somehow incisive, and kind of an earworm because of the refreshing attitude. There are various rhythm changes, but all consisting of a fast pace while nothing is left to chance.
There are memorable, simple-kept, but stunningly captivating rock n’ roll riffs that are pretty well incorporated to some predictable but enjoyable musical patterns. Those simple but effective musical constructions are one of Athenar musical trademarks.
There are no crescendos, interludes or long and boring intro parts, everything is kept to minimal, even the lyrics are simple and easily stick to your brain. This is a minimalistic and intense kind of album.
The semi-catchy, pseudo-speed tune “Rising Scum” begins with a drum pattern like a march cadence, and I think its the slowest song on the album. The conglomerate of sounds on the sixth track, “Warning from the Reaper” reminds me of Classical metal giants: Hellhammer or Venom. The old school vibes, savage riffs and nasty attitude explode in even more anarchic manner on “The Sounds of Hell”. The songwriting on this album could be considered one of the best for the band, so far even though the sound hasn’t progressed much. The production here is fairly clean but not refined to the point of the album losing its raw sound. The bass line is polished up nicely in the mix and we can hear it throughout the arrangements. The guitars are louder, and the drums, simple in nature, suit the music well.
The only way I can describe this album is that it was fantastic for no particular reason but It’s so packed with riffs that you’ll be listening over and over again without getting bored.
Midnight is a very promising entity, and there is a lot to like in “Rebirth by Blasphemy”
Just sit back and relax and give this record a spin or two and then reconsider your music taste. As far as I’m concerned, Midnight’s name is on my bucket list for “must-see live” bands!
I believe this full length is a turning point in Midnight’s existence. From now one, we have to deal with the monster. Because it’s like an entity, as the lyrics summarize:
“Living for the speed
Breathing for the darkness
Spreading like disease
Fucking speed and darkness”
Sit back, have a drink and enjoy!