Ahtenar is back with another slab of unholy noise from his one-man project Midnight. This latest offering, his fifth full length Let There Be Witchery, gets its title from a meld of two of the song titles, Let There Be Sodomy and Szex Witchery. Athenar wants to maintain the tradition of using six syllables, something I’ve never noticed until now because, well, I’ve been far too busy listening to the music, so I’m sure he’ll forgive me.
Midnight – Let There Be Witchery (Metal Blade Records)
Release Date: 4 March 2022
Words: Jools Green
He continues with the ‘Midnight’ trademark blend of all the most filthy, belligerent and obnoxious aspects of Speed Metal, Black Metal, Thrash and Punk Rock that fills me with so much joy. I haven’t been this fired up since he released the previous slab of in-your-face lunacy, Rebirth By Blasphemy, in 2020. If you are a fan of any of the past albums, you’ll love Let There Be Witchery. It’s another classic dose of Midnight.
The ten-track, thirty four-minute, in-your-face extravaganza starts with Telepathic Nightmare. Eerie and ominous to open, it rapidly ramps up to a slab of D-beat insanity that packs a massive punch, particularly when the wonderfully deranged vocal delivery kicks in, along with a searing second-half solo just to complete the aural assault. Anyone familiar with any of the previous albums knows what a vital factor these solos are, which play a vital role on every track.
“All the solos have been spontaneous since the start of the band,” Athenar says. “I just give it a shot, then maybe stumble across a theme, then try it again and again and again. That’s the way I like solos to sound, spontaneous yet have some sort of map in there to follow, kind of like a methed-up lunatic driving a car missing a wheel at top speed down a curvy highway on his way to get more meth. It’s not gonna be pretty, but you know he’ll find a way to get there somehow.” If you know the music, you’ll know exactly what he means.
Continuing the unrelenting drive with Frothing Foulness, I love how the vocals punch their way through the driving riffs. It’s powerful and effective. In Sinful Secrecy is another driver with an air of the old school and a subtly melodic undercurrent with leadwork that makes its presence very felt across the whole track, bursting forth as a very dynamic second half solo.
Nocturnal Molestation, as well as having a title that makes us more juvenile minds giggle, has a wonderfully catchy, driving melody (and catchy lyrics that will get you into trouble if you accidentally sing them in public). This balances so well with the deranged vocals, and you get two solo chunks on this track.
More Torment is slower, darker and has a filthy sleazy groove, with leads and a solo that are all utterly irresistible. The pace is back up to a marauding D-beat for Let There Be Sodomy, a straightforward, catchy little number with that all-important searing solo to add that final punch.
Devil Virgin takes a different angle with its lead infused opener before moving onto some catchy repeat “retro rocking” riffs which make up the backbone of the track. I love the little lead embellishments across this track.
Snake Obsession picks up the galloping D-beat again and Villainy Wretched Villainy is another great “retro riffer”, superbly catchy with raw “villainous” vocals, a catchy burst of retro leadwork and a searing solo bringing up to the close with the addictive driver Szex Witchery.
So why should anyone listen to Midnight? “If I were to give actual good advice,” Athenar says, “I would say stay clear of anything to do with Midnight. But I’m not a rational thinker, so as usual, I will give terrible advice and say punish your earholes and play this album as loud as your stereo goes. You gotta release your demons somehow.”
Let There Be Witchery will be available as a CD, limited edition vinyl in eleven different colour choices or digital download.
An album that you need in your life, it’s a work of utter genius.
I’ll leave the final comment to Athenar about his latest endeavour, “I always want it to be loud and nasty,” he asserts. “That kinda thing never gets old with me. How funny will that look to see me at age seventy-seven if I reach that point, sitting on the porch blasting Hellhammer?”
I hope he does because my own personal goal is in the same vein. Keep it loud, keep it mental, keep it Metal!!
Midnight – with Mayhem, Watain
3/07/2022 Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
3/08/2022 The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
3/09/2022 The Nile Theater – Phoenix, AZ
3/11/2022 The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT
3/12/2022 The Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO
3/14/2022 Amplified Live – Dallas, TX
3/15/2022 Mohawk – Austin, TX
3/16/2022 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
3/18/2022 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
3/19/2022 Orpheum – Tampa, FL
3/20/2022 The Underground – Charlotte, NC
3/22/2022 Club Soda – Montreal, QC
3/23/2022 The Phoenix – Toronto, ON
3/25/2022 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
3/26/2022 Irving Plaza – New York, NY
3/27/2022 Irving Plaza – New York, NY
3/29/2022 Baltimore Sound Stage – Baltimore, MD
3/30/2022 The Roxian – Pittsburgh, PA
3/31/2022 The Majestic – Detroit, MI
4/01/2022 The Vic – Chicago, IL
4/02/2022 Skyway Theater – Minneapolis, MN
4/03/2022 The Forge – Joliet, IL