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

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Author: Johnny Hayward

 

Rock photographer Bill O’Leary has a book Featuring over 175 full color concert images from the ’70s through ’90s of icons like Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Zappa, and more Available Here
During his career, photographer Bill O’Leary took pictures of some of rock’s biggest names at the peak of their powers – Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, etc. And now, he has opened his archives for the first time ever – assembling a collection of not only his best images, but also, offering stories and recollections behind concerts he shot over the years. Indeed, this book is comprised of over 175 full color, live concert images photographed primarily from the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Artists include…AC/DC, Albert King, The Allman Brothers Band, Anthrax, Blues Traveler, Bob Seger, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Dixie Dregs, Foreigner, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Joan Jett, Judas Priest, Kiss, Marillion, Mercyful Fate, Michael Schenker Group, Molly Hatchet, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Outlaws, Overkill, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Travers, Phish, Pink Floyd (The Wall), The Police, Queen, Rainbow, Reo Speedwagon, The Romantics, Rossington Collins Band, Rush, Scorpions, Slayer, Styx, Ted Nugent, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Triumph, UFO, Van Halen, White Zombie, XTC, Yes, Yngwie Malmsteen with Alcatrazz, and ZZ Top.

O’Leary says:
“Hard to believe that I have been shooting concerts for 4 decades now, beginning in the mid 70’s when I went to my first concert at the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. I felt at home among the walls of speakers and the towering lighting rigs, I also immediately knew that leaving the show with a ticket stub, program and maybe a t-shirt would not be enough, so I had to capture the memory permanently. Within’ weeks I had traded my Sony home stereo system for a black leather jacket and my first Minolta SLR camera. After a brief learning period experimenting with the constantly changing lighting and vast array of colors, film speeds and the quick movements of the artists, I was told by many people that I was a “natural”. I have always felt that “knowing” the music deeply and being passionate about it as well, really was the “secret” to capturing the “moment”. With that confidence, I was soon shooting many concerts, 46 in 1980 alone. By then I was also being published in many major magazines as well. In the early days, I practiced “gorilla type tactics” to get my equipment into the venue’s. Later, I was forced to play the game of securing credentials in order to shoot shows. All too soon, promoter and band management rules and demands on photographers began to take the excitement out of shooting shows. Then the ” first 3 song” rule became common, NO more pictures after the third song. Pro concert photographers know that the “best” part of a shows production comes later in the event. In the end, I’m glad to have been a part of the glory days of concert photography.”

FOREWARD by Freddie Salem of The Outlaws:
“Bill O’Leary has played an extremely important part in the rock n’ roll world, as the consummate live performance photographer for over 40 years. As a professional musician, rock photographers are a part of the music scene – whether it be shooting promotional shoots, live concerts, or simply capturing life on tour. Bill first photographed us back in 1979 – a couple years after I joined the Outlaws, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. We were touring in support of our latest album, In the Eye of the Storm. Madison Square Garden is a big show for any touring band – as well as me personally, as a musician. A landmark venue. The following year, 1980, Bill again photographed me onstage – twice. Once at a Pat Travers Band show at the Palladium in Lower Manhattan in April, then again later that fall in November, as the Outlaws were touring in support of our latest album, Ghost Riders. This time, we were playing a smaller venue in Passaic, New Jersey, called the Capitol Theatre. Hundreds upon hundreds of marquis performers from all over the world have been captured on film by Bill – with the help of his trusty camera. I am surely anticipating the release of Bill O’Leary’s book, featuring his life’s passion and his iconic photography work. Looking at the thousands of live photos Bill has shot over the years one thing is very clear – he knows when to “pull the trigger.”