Yes, of course, it’s just an arbitrary date, one that has no intrinsic meaning. The arrow of time moves inexorably forward, the segmentation of its path into old years and new ones solely our own creation, one more effort to impose some kind of communal order on chaos. The effort fails, but as an occasion for remembering good times and bad, and perhaps kindling hope for a better tomorrow, the clicking of the clock past midnight tonight serves a laudable purpose. Even as simply an excuse for a cathartic blowout, it’s a good thing, if that’s your thing.
The calendar will flip over, but I’ll just keep writing as if nothing is about to change. Why the hell not? I have a lot of new songs and videos I’ve discovered over the last 48 hours. I’ve collected a few of them — the result of hard choices — and will make some of them the subject of this last NCS post of 2016, and the rest the subject of our first post of 2017 tomorrow.
Happy Fucking New Year to all of you from all of us. My resolution, over which I have no control, is to be here with you one year from today, saying the same damned thing.
This is one of those extremely rare occasions when I’m writing about a new release without being able to include a stream of any of the music. This leaves you without the vital safety net of your own ears, wholly dependent on my own gibberish as a guide. While I really hate putting you in that position, I really have to froth about this release now. If and when a music stream surfaces, I’ll try to remember to add it. But since my memory is no more reliable than my verbiage, maybe you should just order this tasty little split for yourselves.
The partners in crime on this two-song release are Cleveland’s Midnight and Detroit’s Shitfucker, and it will be discharged by Hells Headbangers on 7″ vinyl on September 4.
Midnight’s track is “Sadist Sodomystic Seducer”, and it’s their first new music since 2014’s stupendous No Mercy For Mayhem. It’s only 2:13 long, but man it’s good.
(In this post you will find BadWolf’s interview of Jamie Walters, aka Athenor, of Cleveland’s Midnight.)
Cleveland’s Jamie Walters struck gold (though maybe he didn’t know it) when throwback metal outfit Boulder became inactive and he formed his one-man project Midnight. Part black metal and part cock rock, Midnight has won over a surprising number of fans with a mixture of powerful hooks, depraved lyrics, and shocking imagery. The band’s 2011 album, Satanic Royalty, made me a fan. Their set at 2013’s Maryland Deathfest made me a devotee. Now, with their sophomore LP, No Mercy For Mayhem, I am a fanatic. Still, Walters’ music has the hooks, but perhaps not the ethics we as listeners demand from modern rock music. I got on the blower with Walters to see what satanic royalty has to do with sexism and an undying love for AC/DC.
I don’t see that many interviews with you.
Jamie: No, I try not to do too many interviews. I don’t know, over the internet. . . I’m not really an internet type of person, so over the internet you get kind of just like short answers, kind of half-ass, and then over the phone it’s always just like, ‘hey, we’re just talking’. I don’t like talking to people but it’s like, sometimes it doesn’t come across as an interview, because then you start talking about the Steelers, the Lions, kind of stupid shit — you know? — that has nothing to do with an interview. So.
You’re from Ohio, you’re like, you’re an Ohio boy, and you never play Ohio.
Jamie: Well, I wouldn’t say never, but not as much, you know, I guess just as much as any other cities.
Well, I mean, you played Cleveland maybe twice last year, you’re from Cleveland. . .
Jamie: Yeah, yeah.
. . . and you’re about to do this Hell’s Headbangers warehouse show.
Jamie: Okay, it’s just a warehouse, essentially, so I’m sure you’ve been to a warehouse, it has a bay door, a garage, and all that kind of stuff, and it’s a warehouse. You know, it’s basically like a private party here, just do a little gig here in the parking lot and play in the, you know, the bay doors, and just have bands play, and just have hotdogs and pop or whatever the shit and those guys are good and it would be cool. And of course they think on a little more bigger level I guess, and it’s like yeah, well, just have it open to everybody…. I thought it would be like a private party at most, you know, 40 people or something like that, but I guess beyond that it grew bigger than we anticipated. I don’t know. We’ll see, but it seems like there are a lot of people coming.
This is a second round-up for the day, collecting some of the news and new music I discovered yesterday that I thought were worth sharing around. In no particular order:
I first wrote about Sweden’s Gormathon this past July upon setting eyes on Eliran Kantor’s wonderful cover art for their new album, Following the Beast, which will be released by Napalm Records during September in Europe and on October 17 in North America. Back then I didn’t have any music to share, but thanks to a tip from TheMadIsraeli I discovered that a few days ago they released an official music video for one of the new album tracks — “Absence of Trust”.
The best comment on the YouTube clip was this one: “New video from Saruman and his band directly from Isengard!” Visual resemblances aside, there’s something about the music that inspires such thoughts as well. It’s catchy-as-hell melodic death metal that bears resemblances to Amon Amarth, but with flavors of folk and power metal in the mix. Here’s the video:
Fortune (or Satan) has smiled on us, because today we have been chosen to deliver unto you a stream of the new album by Midnight, from beginning to end, from “Penetratal Curse” to “Aggressive Crucifixion”, and beyond. And we introduce you to No Mercy For Mayhem with this review of the album by our brother BadWolf:
Jamie “Athenar” Walters spent a long time recording demos, 7-inches, and splits as Midnight before he released his debut album, much like many other solo black metal musicians in America. But that long gestation period, I’m afraid, is where the similarities end. Midnight is nothing like Krieg, Xasthur, or Weakling. Bedroom black metal? More like satanic sex dungeon metal-n-roll. The only thing atmospheric about Midnight is the thin film of grindhouse sleaze that permeates its propulsive stew of old-school black metal and cock rock.
Further far afield from midwest black metal, Midnight has a distinct look and aesthetic. With painted cover art featuring hooded executioners and scantily clad women, the band has a sense of style, all wrapped up in violence, delinquency, and BDSM naughtiness. For a pretty anonymous, gender-indifferent genre, Midnight deals with sexual subjects, while sporting a strong, theatrical sense—something that used to be a big part of black metal until everyone but Immortal forgot about it. Live, Midnight comes across like a crust-punk KISS, albeit with hoods instead of platform shoes (an upgrade, if you ask me).
Walters’s 2011 debut, Satanic Royalty, wound up being one of my favorite albums of that year—too bad I didn’t get a chance to hear it until 2012. That record mixed Venom-and-Motörhead-isms with arena-ready hooks. For the past two years, I’ve been frothing at the mouth to get a taste of its followup, and the Complete and Total Hell compilation album (reviewed here), though incredible, just did not scratch the itch. Seeing Midnight’s energetic performance at Maryland Deathfest 2013 only made the wait more unbearable.
I will never catch up. So many new songs and videos erupted from the underground while I was doing other things over the last week, but I can’t look backward for long because each new day brings more eruptions. The seismic plates of metal are in constant motion, and the skies are always red with fire and black with ash. So I’ll mix and match between the new and the not-quite-as-new — starting with a song that premiered yesterday.
There are some bands about whom I fear I’ve lost my objectivity. I’m so enthralled by everything they’ve done that I expect nothing less than excellence in whatever comes next. Panopticon is one of those bands. I’ve had not only high expectations for Roads To the North but also no doubt that it would prove to be brilliant.
With that confession, I will say that the first advance track from that new album is… brilliant. The song is “Chase the Grain” and it premiered at Stereogum yesterday. Even before hearing it, I was already in agreement with Stereogum writer Michael Nelson’s pronouncement that Panopticon’s Austin Lunn “is one of the few genuine visionaries in American black metal”. If you need more proof, listen to “Chase the Grain”.
Were you paying attention yesterday? Did you see the post I wrote about the new, free Hells Headbangers compilation? Did you see that it includes a new track by the band Midnight? Well, if you did, you might have guessed what I’m about to confirm: Today, Hells Headbangers announced that Midnight’s new album No Mercy for Mayhem will be released August 19.
I’ve been waiting for this info because the band’s 2011 debut Satanic Royalty was one of my favorite albums of 2011. It sort of came out of nowhere (except for select people in the underground who already knew what was up with Midnight), and made quite a splash. I have little doubt the new album will get 10 times the exposure. There will probably be a full-album stream on NPR. Album teasers will probably be played in movie theaters before shows. Discount coupons in the newspapers.
Okay, probably some of those things won’t happen once the new Midnight promo shot gets into circulation. This is it:
Many of our readers are intimately familiar with Hells Headbangers, but for those who aren’t, it’s an online distro and record label specializing in death, black, thrash, grind, doom, and heavy metal. As a label, Hells Headbangers is home to a tremendous line-up of slaughtering bands, many of whom we’ve featured here at NCS. This morning I discovered that HH has made available a free summer comp of music from many of those bands. The comp consists of 20 tracks and includes brand new songs from forthcoming albums by Midnight, Witch Cross, Profanatica, and Impiety.
The comp also comes with artwork drawn by Antichrist Kramer as an homage to Slayer’s debut album Show No Mercy. The timing is coincidental, but it now seems like a fitting tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman. (There’s a track on the comp listed as a Slayer song . . . but it’s really Vomitor.)
The comp is available as a free digital download on Bandcamp, and HH says a double-LP and a CD version will be coming soon.
I’ve been blasting this shit this morning, and it’s awful strong. Links are after the jump, along with the new tracks and the complete album stream.
(In this post, BadWolf reviews the forthcoming Hells Headbangers compilation of Midnight’s entire pre-Satanic Royalty back catalogue.)
Midnight came seemingly out of nowhere last year with their debut Satanic Royalty. Clocking in at just over thirty minutes, the album roared out of the gates, dazzled with its compelling mix of old-school black metal, D-beat, and classic cock rock, then ended too quickly. I loved it—as did many others, judging by Midnight’s announced slot at Maryland Deathfest—and if I’d heard it before the holiday season, it would most certainly have wormed into my end-of-year lists. I await tis sequel with bated breath.
But Satanic Royalty was hardly Midnight’s first release. The Cleveland three-peice has been releasing music in splits, demos, singles, and EP’s since 2003, and now all of that early material (minus a Quiet Riot cover) is available in one convenient package: Complete and Total Hell. And while it hardly feels like the rock-solid sequel to Satanic Royalty, it serves as a convenient appetizer—the prequel to the sequel, if you’ll pardon my reference.
Complete and Total Hell flows well as an album, even though it is a compilation. “Funeral Bell” opens with some Bathory-style atmosphere, and then the record pumps out track after track of chunky and distorted riffs. The early tracks sound like they were recorded straight to cassette in a basement over a boombox—which they may have been. The raw recording works in their favor since the songs emerge from simple building blocks. As the record progresses you can actually hear more and more money flow into Midnight’s recording—the guitar solos clear up, the bass rumbles deeper, until the music breaks into jangly boogie rock on “Berlin is Burning,” over an hour later. Yes, an hour; where Satanic Royalty was brief, Complete and Total Hell is overlong.