I had never even heard of MIDNIGHT before I saw them open for SAMHAIN back in October 2014, right after the release of this album. When I saw them live, I was absolutely blown away. It was three black-masked, bullet-belted and spiked madmen ripping apart the Electric Factory stage, that sounded like a dead cross between classic VENOM and MOTORHEAD. It was blackened “metalpunk,” and I was instantly hypnotized, hooked even. Their live performance left me wanting for more. So check out their albums I did.
NO MERCY FOR MAYHEM is absolutely brilliant. It is exactly what I heard when I saw them live last year. What I mean by that is not necessarily the same songs, but the sound. It sounds just like it did live, which is phenomenal. Essentially MIDNIGHT is like a really well produced early VENOM. That is not to say that they don’t have their own sound, for they most certainly do, but that they remember their roots and play “metalpunk” the way it should be: fast, furious, and as offensive and blasphemous as can be. Of course, much like VENOM, it is a rather cartoonish blasphemy, but that is a large part of the joy here, and of the genre as a whole. *(However, there is a VENOM homage in the album title alone – – – VENOM had a song on their first album, “Welcome To Hell” from 1980, that had a song called “Mayhem With Mercy,” a forty-five second instrumental interlude that just kinda fades in and back out – – – I think the homage brilliant personally – – – and this album also opens with a 45 second instrumental intro, titled “The Mercy Curse,” heh.)
METALPUNK, by the way, refers to bands that range from VENOM, MOTORHEAD, DISCHARGE, BATHORY, WENDY O. WILLIAMS and the PLASMATICS, G.B.H., TOXIC HOLOCAUST, some DARKTHRONE, etc. Some use the term “punkmetal,” either/or really, but it refers to bands who inherently understood/understand the natural blend of both metal and punk, most at a time when the two factions mostly hated each other, and long before “crossover” happened. It was where the “headbangers” and the “punks” could find equal footing. The themes of most metalpunk are usually, or most associated with, blasphemous and misogynistic imagery and lyrics, all done for the reason of deliberate offense and twisted humor, and not much else. But not all. Some bands were political in nature (DISCHARGE), some just plain weird (THE PLASMATICS), and some just sang about life (MOTORHEAD). It’s a pretty do-whatever-the-fukk-you-want genre, as long as it’s fast, heavy, offensive and catchy. And the songs are mercifully short. *(School’s out, back to the album.)
As for this album, after the aforementioned intro, it kicks right into full gear with the anthemically brutal “Evil Like A Knife.” The title track, “No Mercy For Mayhem,” is a mid paced anthem that musically invokes THE PLASMATICS, a great number that shows a side not often seen from these guys. However, that kicks right back into the pure-punk fury of “The Final Rape Of Night.” “Woman Of Flame” is another that invokes WENDY O., and some MOTORHEAD, and is another great song. *(These guys have been around awhile now, and from all I’ve listened to, this is by far their most experimental album musically, as they toy with some more mid-paced rhythms to a sometimes unique effect – – – I’m both surprised and ashamed that I’ve not heard of this band until recently, as their totally up my alley.) “Whiplash Disaster” is a song that evokes a good bit of a NWOBHM sound amidst its strange tale of charnel chaos. My favorite song title, however goes to “Aggressive Crucifixion,” for obvious reasons – – – it’s fukking hysterical. *(I guess that’s as opposed those not so aggressive crucifixions? One of the things I love about this is that these bands can have fun with themselves.) The song? It’s ok, doesn’t quite live up to the potential of the title. But the albums finale “Destroy Tsunami’s Power” makes up for that in a virtual wave of frenzied speed and sound. For initially being a one-man (known only as Athenar) band from Cleveland, this album shows MIDNIGHT’s incredible progression in their umpteen years of releasing material, like a hooded reaper of sonic plague.
Altogether I’d say grab this. If you were that weird kid that listened to Venom and Motorhead in jr. high school *(raises hand) it’ll be a neat nostalgic trip. Or if you’re newly into blackened metalpunk at all, or listening to things like TOXIC HOLOCAUST, you’ll also get a kick out of this. Or if you just need some fast-n-heavy fukk the world sleaze, NO MERCY FOR MAYHEM should fit that twisted fix perfectly.
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Vincent Daemon, writer, editor, musician, photgrapher, film/music buff and historian, and rabblerouser, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 as well as his spontaneously updated blog of writing news and nonsense THE WRITINGS OF A DEPRAVED MIND http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/ Some of his music can be painfully experienced at http://www.reverbnation.com/vincentdaemonsageofdesire3 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org