Midnight – Let There Be Witchery Review

Yes, I’m alive. Why haven’t I written much lately? Because I’ve been busy with work and hunting down Nazis. But, mostly, it’s because I hate you all. Surprised, are you? I can’t imagine why. Unlucky for you, Midnight is here to fuel my hatred. One of the more prolific and consistent outfits in the black/speed/thrash world, Athenar is here with another collection of crusty, filthy, muddy, slimy tracks to fill your grave. Keeping with the theme of six-syllable album titles, compiled from the bastardization of song titles, Midnight brings us Let There Be Witchery. After moving over to Metal Blade Records, the only change that’s come from Athenar is the cleaner production, which is fine by me. Let that gnarly guitar tone, popping bass, pummeling drum, and phlegmatic voice tie me up and pound me to death in a necrophilic orgy. Otherwise, you shouldn’t expect anything different from this new outing, which is also fine by me.

As always, keep your attention trained on the carnage, or you might miss its sleek, thirty-minute runtime. “Telepathic Nightmare” kicks over your mama’s gravestone with a driving Darkthrone attitude and sinister overtone that only gets better as the song progresses. Its black speediness intensifies as the bass comes to life and shares punches with its six-string counterpart. Then, it steamrolls straight into the follow-up track, “Frothing Foulness.” “Frothing Foulness” has the kind of gallop that could only come from a dead horse charging through a quiet village, aiming for small children. It builds to a chaotic finale of swirling guitars and drums before it abruptly ends in the most disruptive way. Well, at least when you’re standing on a sketchy tree branch, drunk and headbanging.

As expected from all Midnight releases, there’s a fair share of catchy choruses and match-made-in-heaven guitar solos. The two that stick out the most turn out to be the most “upbeat” numbers I’ve ever heard from Athenar. Fun-as-fuck (FAF), “In Sinful Secrecy” and “Villainy Wretched Villainy” trudge along with bright, pleasing Motörhead gallops, killer solo work, and fist-punching choruses. “In Sinful Secrecy,” in particular, has a hook that’ll have you slapping the fannies of female corpse groupies and barking the lyrics to the graveyard moon.

While I could describe every song on the album as something of interest, the best are the back-to-back “Nocturnal Molestation” and “More Torment.” The first combines Hellhammer, Motörhead, and Venom with a chorus that might be catchier than the one on “In Sinful Secrecy.” But, what does “More Torment” have in store? Utter. Fucking. Fuckingness. I have never banged my head harder to a Midnight song as I have to “More Torment.” Not only does it have a massive, mid-paced chug, but Athenar’s vocals are spot on. The vocals are easily as crushing as the instrumentation—much like the spooky vocals to match “Devil Virgin.” But, the best part of the song comes when you think it’s over. In comes the hit-hat transition to build everything back up to a neck-breaking finale.

Apart from the killer tracks that litter this decrepit tomb, Let There Be Witchery is more of a complete experience than previous releases. Much of that has to do with the strategically placed album opener and closer. While “Telepathic Nightmare” opens the album with an eerie, mood-setting introduction, “Szex Witchery” closes out the album with somber guitar overlays that remind me of Dissection. Both songs act as support bookends to this fantastic album.

In general, Let There Be Witchery knocked me over and chewed me up into fertilizer for the lawns of the St. Grier Cemetery. No matter how much I tried to convince myself that Midnight’s last two albums were better, Let There Be Witchery takes the crown. Also, this filler-less beauty has perhaps the best sounding vocals of all Midnight releases. “More Torment,” “Devil Virgin,” and “Szex Witchery” highlight everything from massive to nasty to clever vocal contributions. Let There Be Witchery is well balanced, building up when you need it and leveling out when you’re too spent on corpse genitalia to carry on. I’m one of the biggest Midnight fans out there and find all their releases good (or mostly very good), but Let There Be Witchery is sick.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Metal Blade Records
Websites: midnight-ohio.bandcamp.com | totalmidnight.webs.com | facebook.com/midnightviolators
Releases Worldwide: March 4th, 2022

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