You ever see that movie The Expendables?
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Retro-80s action piece, throwback to the golden era of the style, totally captures the spirit and the feeling and everything that was great about those glorious films that it’s cribbing from…
Way back in 2011, Midnight’s first full-length felt quite a bit like that film – it was a perfect encapsulation of a bygone age, done with all the appropriate respect and knowledge of what made the greats of that era great still. It was violent, action-packed, and most importantly, it was fun as hell, from top to bottom, with a ton of wink-wink “remember when” packed amongst a serious study of the classics done again, new enough to not feel tired, and old enough to feel familiar.
You ever see that movie The Expendables 3?
Yeah, I did, too, and I’ll see The Expendables 4 when it comes, and probably 5, too. I love this shit. But I can’t deny that the third one was less inspired, a copy of a copy of copy, the same basic premise delivered with slightly less freshness.
You see where I’m going with this?
So, yes, Sweet Death And Ecstasy is Midnight, doing the Venom-y proto-black / speed metal thing that they’ve (he’s) always done, and it’s exactly what you expect. Are there some minor variations? I guess – this one’s a little more midtempo, but overall, that’s hair-splitting. Sweet Death And Ecstasy offers no real surprises, aside from its atrocious eyeball-burning cover (edited here for the holidays) – but then again, you don’t turn to Midnight for something new, or for something subtle.
Here you get the nearly seven-minute drive of “Crushed By Demons,” which with the other midtempo bookend in the equally long “Before My Time In Hell” forms the album’s best moments. But there’s also another usage of Athenar’s favorite made-up word in “penetratel,” plus some good old dirty rawk in “Rabid!” and “Bitch Mongrel.” The main riff in “Here Comes Sweet Death” is the best on hand, and one of Midnight’s finest, but the whole of this adds up to a well-done “been there, done that,” even as good as it is, and was, and likely will be again. There are no stand-out moments, nothing special, nothing terrible.
So there’s the rub: If you like Midnight, then, sure, Sweet Death And Ecstasy is fine, and if you don’t, then, no, you don’t want this. And even if you do like Midnight, you know that this is the band’s third and third-best record. But hey, that’s fine… It’s trashy; it’s silly; it’s fun; it’s Midnight; and yes; it’s expendable.
Enjoy it while it lasts.