MidnightMore lust filth and sleaze from masked marauders Midnight and to say I had been looking forward to this second studio album following on from the excellent ‘Satanic Royalty’ of 2011 would be an understatement. Songs on that album were so strong with all their hooks that they are still going round in my head three years later and the question obviously is can they match things here? After seeing them wreck the stage at Live Evil Fest as well, their return is highly anticipated so much so that the second their forthcoming show at The Black Heart was announced for this September the tickets literally flew out the window. With this new material hitting it’s obvious that this is one show that could be seriously in need of a bigger boat.

After some classic metal guitar lines set things up by way of intro, first track proper ‘Evil Like A Knife’ speeds in and literally rips your fucking guts out! Put simply it’s everything one could want, easily matching the fury of the songs from the last album. Barbed guitars, hollering vocals driven out by craggy yeller Athenar and a hooky melody that bridges the gaps left by everyone from Motorhead and Venom through to the likes of Nifelheim. It’s razor sharp speed metal that is infectious and with the word “evil” rasped out all through it, a dark ode that commands worship. After having heard it for all of the 3:04 running time though it is somewhat difficult not to press repeat and forget the rest of the album and just keep on playing it; seriously it’s that good a song. Naturally it does on first play leave you wondering if Midnight have shot their load a bit early, can they possibly match this?

Thankfully the answer is yes even if much of what follows is not quite as immediate. ‘Prowling Leather’ as the title suggests stalks in a more sinister and slow and brooding fashion with sleazy guitar lines caressing you in all the right places as it slithers down the alley way in search of prey. If it were a film it would probably be Shaun Costello’s ‘Forced Entry’ and when you listen to it with that image and the lyrics going round in your head you realise just what a sick fuck of a song it actually is. The title track roars in without a break and some of the riffs here would not be out of place coming from a sunset strip hair band. The chorus hits and it’s another one you are going to have an impossible time shaking and will no doubt be singing along by the second round. Compulsive listening this is but politically correct it ain’t with songs like ‘Final Rape Of The Night’ being the sort that GG Allin would have knocked out (and knocked one out to) had he actually been any good. This one picks up the speed again and tears along with head-banging fervour that is going to have everyone going mental live despite the lyrical content. Some scorching solos here really blaze away and it’s a delirious and dare I say upbeat roughie of a number. Could you ever imagine a band like ZZ Top rubbing your face in a song called Degradation? Musically this would not be a million miles away at time as it gets a distinct Southern etched groove on but again scratch beneath the layers of scuzz and it’s all so wrong.

Is there any safer ground? Probably not but if you want to “Try Suicide” the means are provided in a rollicking rawk n’roll fashion. It sounds like the sort of kvlt song that’s been dredged up by someone like Hoest of Taake to cover but it’s not, although it probably will be in the future as this is just one number on an album that has classic written all over it. There’s nothing like an Aggressive Crucifixion to finish it off and if you are cross it’s over so quickly there’s a bonus track and on a limited edition a whole extra disc of ‘Alive On The Streets Of Cleveland’ album from last year which sadly didn’t come with my download.

I think I’ve said it all, if you are looking to get your arse seriously kicked and are not offended easily this is going to deliver the goods and leave you begging for more.

(8.5/10 Pete Woods)