Twenty Years of Hell, Speed & Sleaze Fuck Yeah! I’ll have some of that. As we gather in the live room of The Exchange it looks like the green room of the walking dead as old-school Thrashers congregate with full corpse-painted kids waiting for some Black Thrash punk courtesy of Devastatoooooooor and the mighty Midnight.
First up are four guys from Oop Norf called Devastator who ply their satanic Black Thrash from I believe the East Midlands. Sounding like proper early Slayer ‘Live Undead’ meets Kill em All with a healthy dose of Mantas licks, they do a sterling job of warming up tonight’s audience with songs such as ‘Worship The Goat’ and ‘Night Of The Witches’ simply because every Black Thrash combo should have either a challenge, fire, tombstones or of course a fuckin Goat! these mofos have the latter stuck to the mic stand as it goes. They also had time to throw out a splendid cover of the Motorhead classic ‘Iron Fist’ as the solos falling from Mr. R Batemans fretboard were mesmerising as his Alien-like fingers became a blur of fretboard fuckery (which I think if I’m not mistaken did burst into flames at one point such was the speed at which he maneuvered across the neck of his instrument) songs like ‘Baptised In Blasphemy’ and ‘Death Slut’ or ‘Hail Death’ went down a treat and before you know it their work was done. The audience was suitably warmed up and sweat began to fall down the collective brow. The live room was now a steaming heaving mass waiting for what was to follow, as if this shit couldn’t get any more bonkers – Hold onto your camo shorts kids this might get a little rough.
The last time Midnight played the Exchange it was a fantastic set of memorable black thrash punk but tonight there was a packed room expectant for the trio of noise bringers and boy did they bring the noise. I might be forgiven for thinking this was one of if not the loudest show I’ve seen for many many years not since Saxon on the Crusader tour back in the day, Biff would have been proud of the volume Athenar and his boys were playing at. This wasn’t just loud this was loosening the screws on your pacemaker volume. Every beat of the bass drum was like a gots hoof kicking you in the bollock’s two-footed, real nosebleed volume. Once you get the picture we shall begin. With Sisters of Mercy volumes of dry ice billowing across the dimly lit stage it was time for Midnight to spend the next hour kicking the living shit out of a sweaty heaving mess of metalhead who quite simply couldn’t get enough of this ridiculous Black Thrash assault.
It’s been twenty years of Hell, Speed, Sleaze, Goats, Fire, Dogs, Tombstones, Whips, Chains, Violators, Masks, and loud as fuck Black n’ Roll music. It’s a fact that you won’t this Metal/Punk hybrid beast done better anywhere else on the planet or in the firey pits of Hell. With only a degree of separation from the likes of Zeke or prime-time DKs, this metal take on Punk Thrash is an absolute joy to behold when it’s done as well as this. Athenar and Commandor Vanik cross the stage from mic to mic like a pair of demonic Hell hounds guarding the opening of Hades, throwing out shapes and headbutting their instruments with enough force to wake the dead. Did I mention that the volume they were playing at was filling rattling and could probably be heard in Helldom. No not probably, it absolutely could be, it was that loud. The frenzied pit was also exceptional considering how fuckin hot and busy it was in The Exchange bodies bouncing off eachother like oiled up battle tops it was a joy to behold.
‘Funeral Bell’, ‘All Hail Hell’, ‘Szex Witchery’, and ‘Fucking Speed And Darkness’ are all despatched early doors and with such aplomb Midnight are a well oiled machine and Much like other speed metal bands or the likes of The Dwarves and Zeke they absolutely go for it no holds barred. As the pace and ferocity in which these tunes are delivered is breathtakingly exceptional (as well as incredibly loud) By the time we reach ‘Satanic Royalty’ there isn’t even time to vomit due to the heat and volume inside The Exchange (did I mention it was loud?), ‘Lust Filth And Sleaze’ and ‘Evil Like A Knife’ are dished up with a ferocity that no other bands I’ve witnessed in a long long time could keep pace with. Midnight isn’t taking any prisoners tonight, I find my mind drifting, wondering how they are celebrating twenty years of Hell, Speed, And Sleaze in the back room of a Bristol club and not selling out huge venues all over this spinning rock. Is the metal and punk communities too afraid of Midnight? Are kids worried they wouldn’t handle the intensity of a live show like this? There aren’t enough bands willing to take it to the next level.
Athenar asks if the crowd are getting tired after about fifty minutes of unrelenting power and ferocity and then says he doesn’t care because he could go on for hours, something I don’t doubt for a second. Even the wall behind me is perspiring it’s that hot in here, and at any moment the floor could rip open and Satan himself could appear and beg the band to turn it down a few thousand decibels before his head explodes.
Before the band is done they take requests from the floor and proceed to play ‘Endless Slut’ before ‘Can’t Stop The Steel’ is brutally executed. Quite simply Midnight are the real deal, and taking the spirit of prime Venom and the likes of Motorhead and the speed punks ethos on board they are in a league of their own as well as being in league with Satan (obviously). If they ever make it to a venue near you – quite simply you have to make it to a show, you will not be disappointed or leave unimpressed. When they ask ‘Who Gives A Fuck?’ you will be compelled to reply – I do. Midnight rule and that my friends is a fact – no it’s the law! Now where is the merch table I want one of those well-priced T-Shirts with the flames, goats, nuns, and Chains on, please. What a wonderful night in the company of the kings of Blackened Rock and Fuckin’ Roll! Hail Midnight.
Author: Dom Daley