If the likes of ‘Hell Awaits’, ‘Restless And Wild’, ‘Black Metal’ and ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ got you bouncing around the room with excitement the first time you heard them then ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ the Metal Blade debut album from Midnight is the “must hear” album of 2020 for you.
Long term Midnight fans will no doubt already be tutting at my reference to ‘Black Metal’ but across their impressive 17 year back catalogue there is no way of distancing the band’s sound from that primal guttural roar of Cronos and Co. They are the band I once dubbed as “being able to play Venom’s back catalogue better than Venom”, and I’m going to stick by that.
‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ then is Midnight possibly taking their first steps into “doing a Ghost” by moving away from the metal underground and into the more mainstream. Fear not though, as the title of opener ‘Fucking Speed And Darkness’ alludes Midnight main man Athenar isn’t about to be prancing about like the Pied Piper in its accompanying video any time soon. Nah, this is still very much “go for the throat” heavy metal music, it’s just this time around it really feels like Athenar has stepped up his game in the songwriting department and here all 10 tracks hit home with equal parts ferocity and finesse.
If I were to single out one thing that ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has throughout its 33 minute running time it is that there is a clear focus to deliver brutal yet memorable songs, and therein lies the secret of why for me Midnight stands head and shoulders above the rest of the black metal pack. There’s still some tongue in cheek stuff going on (Devil’s Excrement’ for example – which could very easily be a Trigger McPoopshute song) but essentially this is heads down no-nonsense heavy metal celebrating everything that is great about the genre in 2020. The likes of ‘Cursed Possessions’, ‘Escape From The Grave’ and ‘The Sounds Of Hell’ would and should be instant dancefloor fillers at any metal all-nighter – if such things still exist?
Granted ‘Rising Scum’ might sail a little close to Venom’s ‘Nightmare’ in terms of being the obvious track to be pulled as a potential single, but this comparison is not being made because of plagiarism, it’s being made simply because it’s also a song driven by a drumbeat set to raise the dead. Likewise, the opening few bars of album closer ‘You Drag Me Through Fire’ are primetime Priest yet the song soon catapults the listener back into the very depths of hell with just enough time left to polish your studded gauntlets before pressing the “Repeat” button on your death deck.
At the top of this review I mentioned a quartet of heavy metal records that loom large over the metal community to this day, ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has all the potential to be such an album for the generations to follow, you just need to decide if you want to buy the inverted cross CD or the limited coloured vinyl.
‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ is released Tomorrow get the date in your Necronomicon.
Buy ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward