Ohio’s Midnight is one of the best active bands you can still catch playing a show in someone’s shitty basement. Their live performance is a commanding spectacle that erupts with all the raw energy of a small, snaggletoothed dog savagely banging a plush, snuggly Care Bear, raised to the Nth degree; it’s a rude, fast and ugly experience, but you can’t help but glue your eyeballs to the three hooded garroters flailing away. And the true beauty of Satanic Royalty, apart from its gruesomely divine cover art, is the fact that it manages to cram and contain all that pumping fury into a half-hour studio recording that vengefully fires a lightning bolt up the peehole of all the peckerwhiff thrashy/punky records that have managed to limp onto metal’s sonar with an overly-glossy eye on production.
Yes, it’s a thousand miles away from rocket science or brain surgery, and Midnight‘s brand of blitzing metal is about as forward-thinking or ‘progressive’ as your pawpaw hammered and watching wrastlin’ in a Barcalounger with a half-case of Schlitz already down his barrel, but that’s precisely the point. If you want blood, you got it — exploding from the dirtily sewn together appendages pieced together from Motörhead, Venom, Exciter, Tank, Bulldozerand a stack of other root bands that nerds with excessively-patched vests such as myself constantly try to push down peoples’ throats.
The core foundation is undoubtedly bedrocked Bomber and Welcome to Hell (particularly the aptly conjured Cronos bark), but it’s Satanic Royalty‘s capacity to hook with catchy, often melodic riffing and oodles of violent leads that pushes it to the next level and beyond the band’s already well-received stack of comps and EPs. More than half the album flashes mid-to-high-paced raunchy rollickers capable of igniting a dead party into something your neighbors will hate you over, but the higher octane output such as “You Can’t Stop Steel,” “Violence on Violence” and the tender “Lust, Filth & Sleaze” (“you give me lust, you give me sleaze, I’m gonna bust when you’re down on your knees.” — blast that from a box while standing under your sweetheart’s window, gents) are the tunes that’ll ultimately bring the cops to the doorstep. And they’re suitably flanked by heavier headbangers like “Necromania,” “Black Damnation” and the superb “Holocaustic Deafening” (such a vicious bass-line intro), so most every base is adequately covered.
Probably not the best choice of an album to crank while studying for your med school entrance exams, but you simply will not find a more suitable soundtrack for wrecking a hotel room ala Blackie Lawless circa 1984. During a year that’s becoming increasingly crowded with great metal releases, Satanic Royalty rips through like a chainsaw codpiece at a wedding reception.