Midnight – No Mercy For Mayhem

It might not be immediately obvious from their imagery, but Midnight puts the fun back into metal. In that sense, they’re pretty similar to Immortal. Make no mistake though, this music is quite serious. Midnight’s brand of blackened speed metal shows worship at the altar of Venom, Motorhead, and Bathory, with hints of some other NWOBHM thrown in. Take the beginning of the opening track, “Evil Like A Knife”, for example, it has an incredible exuberance to it. The main riff has so much energy and enthusiasm that it is infectious. The feel this song gives is actually quite similar to Slayer’s “Evil Has No Boundaries” (not just because they start with “evil”) because the sound is so fresh and new that you can’t help but get swept up by its vigor.

This first song describes the album as a whole quite well. There are fast, punky riffs that would make Motorhead proud, with semi-harsh vocals, ala Cronos over top. The band infuses short bursts of melody to help keep things fresh. The chorus is short and simple, but it makes for an incredibly catchy tune. As “Prowling Leather” starts, you notice the exact same thing. Sure, it’s a bit slower overall, but a bit of variety doesn’t hurt. Again, Athenar’s shouts of the title in the chorus (a common theme on this album) immediately draw you back to this song. Another highlight of the album is “The Final Rape of Night”, which once again brings the speed back up. It might not pass for thrash today, but it fits right in with what Venom was doing in 1982. “Woman of Flame” is the band’s best effort because it has the perfect use of lead playing amongst extremely simplistic, but catchy riffs. If there is one song on this album that should be remembered for years to come, it is this one.

Largely because of Midnight, this old-school sound has taken off again, but there are a few reasons why Midnight is superior to all of their followers. For one thing, the production is perfect. Not in the sense that it’s clean, but that is has the right amount of rawness to it. A lot of bands in this style have the tendency to ignore any form of decent sound, but Midnight delivers the perfect balance. The other prime reason Midnight is amazing is because they can mix it up as necessary. While the overall tempo of the album is fast, tracks like “No Mercy For Mayhem” show the band playing a bit slower, but still just as potent. The use of melody (such as the opening lead in the aforementioned track) is incredibly well devised. None of the leads sound forced, and they aren’t particularly over the top either. The guitar solo in the title track is pure Motorhead, with bluesy qualities to it.

As the album goes on, it does drag a little bit. The first half is certainly stronger than the second half, though songs like “Woman of Flame” and “Whiplash Disaster” are still some of the better cuts. The good thing about this sound is that all of the songs (and even the album) are pretty short, so it never overstays its welcome. “No Mercy For Mayhem” is among the best displays of metal today. It has an influence that is largely gone from the cold, calculated world of modern metal. This album has all of the energy of metal’s youth, and is essential listening for those of us still stuck in the 80’s.

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Highlights
“Evil Like A Knife”
“No Mercy For Mayhem”
“The Final Rape Of Night”
“Woman Of Flame”

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%. 

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