Wake up, feel like hell, get ready for work, sit in traffic, manage spreadsheets, eat a sensible lunch, rot in a meeting, rifle through department emails, trash your inbox, sit in traffic, walk the dog, eat dinner, stare at the internet, go to bed, toss and turn, wake up, feel like hell, get ready for work, sit in traffic, manage spreadsheets, eat a sensible lunch, rot in a meeting, rifle through department emails, trash your inbox, sit in traffic, walk the dog, eat dinner, stare at the internet, go to bed, toss and turn, WAKE UP, FEEL LIKE HELL, GET READY FOR WORK, SIT IN TRAFFIC, MANAGE SPREADSHEETS, EAT A STUPID SENSIBLE LUNCH, ROT IN ANOTHER GD MEETING, RIFLE THROUGH WORTHLESS DEPARTMENT EMAILS, TRASH YOUR INBOX, SIT IN FRIGGING TRAFFIC, WALK THE DAMN DOG, EAT DINNER, STARE AT THE STUPID INTERNET, GO TO BLOODY BED, TOSS AND BURN IN HELL.
Life’s often relentless capacity for the unremarkable needs to be attacked, and chances are better than good that regularly relying on fancy avant-garde black metal with an affinity for tub baths or unraveling Lucifer’s secrets will eventually do little more than leave you wishing for a quicker death. We need fire to fight this fight. Caustic, molten ropes of volcanic fire exploding from a Flying V directly into routine’s simple, moony face.
Some folks light up the tires with new-fangled grindcore or various brands of Slamtastic Summer Slam Death Metalmania XV, and that’s just grand, but holy shmoly is it nice to get some Grade-A firebolts tossed to the old bangers left in the house every once in a while. Clearly, there’s no shortage of retro acts to wade through these days, but the bands that properly conquer the prehistoric spirit of blazing rebellion without reprinting yet another reprint of Venomotörhead are surprisingly few and far between.
Buddy, Montreal’s Metalian wants to help. These guys want to take your job and shove it so far up old-man Pinklefarb’s keister that he’ll be coughing paperclips for a solid week. Midnight Rider will have you blowing through traffic like an elephant mowing through a mob of gibbons on its way to the mecca of peanut farms. Fruit salad?? GIVE ME THE CHILI DOG SALAD, and deliver it on the end of a shovel.
The band has apparently been dubbed “Canada’s answer to Judas Priest,” and based on songs such as “Inside the Dome” and “Burn it Down,” there’s no question that this collective has spent more time than most roaring through Screaming for Vengeance. Vocalist/guitarist Ian Wilson clearly has no qualms about pelting ears with the falsetto screams, but the aggressiveness behind his delivery comes across like a bullet-belted hawk that just took off with a water buffalo gripped in its talons. And really, it’s that aggressiveness – that Canadian element of hostile SPEEEEED – that ultimately makes Midnight Rider such a fitting companion to tearing a hole into the wall.
If I had to dub them as anything, though, I’d be more likely to refer to Metalian as “Canada’s answer to most everything that was ideal about metal from about ’81-’83.” The record is fiercely melodic, but maintains a raw, reckless abandon that keeps things pinned to the wildness of early Raven or Acid, and there’s a nice pinch of the sort of Plasmatics punk energy (Beyond the Valley/“Nothing”) that makes you want to throw the record like a lit gas can into the arms of your pal who thinks old-school metal is better left to the elderly. Check out the frenzied “The Haunting.” If those lightning bolt leads exploding during the closing minute don’t get you up and jumping, you should probably just go ahead and scoot that other foot into the grave.
Unless basically everything that the New Wave of British Heavy Metal stood for causes you to recoil in horror, there’s not much to complain about here. At 36-minutes, Midnight Rider is refreshingly brief, but there’s enough early Smith/Murray axe battles and Halford howls wrapped beneath that Canadian proclivity for barbarian speed to guarantee a long shelf-life.
Digital only for now, but hopefully an LP/CD version will drop in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, go get yourself properly lit.