Midnight – Rebirth by Blasphemy (Metal Blade)

Since 2002, Midnight mainman Athenar has been spitting blackened tar over the metal underground, bathing it in unfiltered, unbridled sonic filth. And while an impressive collection of splits, EPs and three full lengths has given Midnight a loyal following, the Cleveland act always seemed destined to revel in their cult status, rather than reach further above ground.

Signing with Metal Blade may have just changed the game for Athenar, though. And it’s undoubtedly a step up. But it would mean little if Rebirth by Blasphemy was a dud.

Thankfully, it ain’t.

Rather, Midnight’s fourth studio opus is home to some of Athenar’s most vicious ditties to date (Cursed Possessions and the title track amongst them) and the songs flow together better: there’s a higher sense of cohesion, a more engaging dynamic, than we’ve seen in earlier albums. It feels that the multi-instrumentalist has put a little more thought into Rebirth by Blasphemy, making his trademark rasp, Venömhead riffs and wild, punk strut more potent in the process.  

Long-time acolytes will find a new anti-anthem in the high octane rush of opener Fucking Speed And Darkness, Rising Scum marches along to pummelling war-drums, Raw Attack is just that and closer You Can Drag Me Through Fire sees Athenar sign off with a bulletbelt clad, petrol-quaffing beast of song, one which threatens to turn your soul into sticky mush. Plus, in Warning From The Reaper there is a reminder that Midnight are at heart, a rock ‘n’ roll act… albeit a pretty twisted, blood-spattered one.

Simply put, Rebirth by Blasphemy defines Midnight. It’s the album Athenar always threatened to make. It’s a huge, brain-bursting rush from the opening riffs to the demonic, echoing yell of ‘fire’ that brings the album an end.

Think metal has lost its dangerous edge amongst all those slick, Djenty-hairstyles and sneaker brand tie-ins? Let this persuade you otherwise…