Midnight Priest

Midnight Priest Midnight Priest - Rainha Da Magia Negra (StormSpell Records) 2011

1. Rainha Da Magia Negra (3:50)
2. Juízo Final (4:22)
3. Lenda Viva (7:04)
4. Numa Campa De Cristal (4:03)
5. Armada Da Noite  (4:21)
6. O Conde (5:11)

Midnight Priest are a heavy metal band Portugal formed in 2009 who are part of the worldwide New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal movement. This was the first thing that I had heard from the band and what attracted me to them was that cover art. Fantastic old school painting that looks like Boris or Frazetta. As well, the fact that StormSpell Records released this EP gave me some confidence as this label rarely releases a dud. Midnight Priest's sound is straight forward heavy metal with a slant towards speed metal. The band is very obviously and unabashedly influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The EP starts off with two of the strongest tracks in the title track "Rainha Da Magia Negra" (Queen Of Black Magic) and "Juizo Final" (Final Justice). Both are full of heavy riffs and tasty guitar licks. The guitar work and the songwriting are the bands strong point. Vocals by "The Priest" are slightly raspy and sung in the bands own native tongue of Portuguese. At times his voice reminds me of Paul DiAnno, but he is far from a clone. The album ends on a strong note with "O Conde" (The Count), an up-tempo metal number with some early Iron Maiden influences.

Midnight Steel Midnight Priest ‎– Midnight Steel (Slaney) 2015

1.  Intro (:31)
2.  Made Of Steel (3:56)   
3.  Into The Nightmare (4:02)
4.  When Midnight Comes (4:25)   
5.  Hellbreaker (4:38)   
6.  Gates Of Stygia [instrumental] (:59)
7.  And Then... The Darkness (3:09)
8.  Mistress Of The Night (3:31)   
9.  Arrival In Black [instrumental] (1:15)
10. Thunderbay (4:15)

Midnight Priest are a New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal band from Portugal. "Midnight Steel" is their second full-length album and is the first album with English lyrics rather than their native language, which should bring the band a wider audience. 

Musically Midnight Steel is equal parts Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the NWOBHM movement overall. There are a few songs such as "Made of Steel" and "Thunderbay" which are straight forward speed metal, but other tracks such as "When Midnight Comes" and "Hellbreaker" bring the tempo down a bit, giving the songs a bit of variety. Both When Midnight Comes" and especially "Hellbreaker" are hooky songs that will ring through your brain for the rest of the day after hearing them. The production is raw and a bit thin with crunchy guitar tones. Frankly I'll take a raw, thinner production over a slick studio production any day of the week. The one point that can really make or break a band is the vocals. "Midnight Steel" features new singer Lex Thunder who has a smooth tenor voice that works well with the band's NWOBHM-inspired sound. He lets out the occasional high-pitched scream, which also works well. He probably wouldn't be able to compete with the greats of metal past such as Halford, Dickinson, James Rivera, Dio, etc. but he's certainly no slacker either. My only real complaint about the album is that it's barely a full-length album with three short instrumental/intro tracks leaving only seven full length songs. The entire album clocks in at just over 30-minutes long. (I suppose it could be said that the band leaves their audience wanting for more.)

"Midnight Steel" is packed full of everything you would expect and want from a NWOTHM band; big hooky riffs, up-beat song tempos, galloping rhythms, dual guitar parts, fiery lead guitar work and the mandatory cliché metal lyrics. Had this band been around in the 80's or even in the musically depressed 1990's they could have been contenders. As it stands now they are one in a crowded pack of bands reviving the greatest era of heavy metal, along with Striker, Old Wolf, White Wizzard, Holy Grail, and many others.

Midnight Priest - Aggressive Hauntings (Metal on Metal) 2019

1.   The Law [instrumental] (1:21)
2.   Funeral (3:59)
3.   Aggressive Hauntings (5:08)
4.   Eyes in the Dark (3:51)
5.   Holy Flesh (03:32)
6.   Ecstasy (3:14)
7.   Sin for Satan (3:16)
8.   Iron Heart (3:48) 
9.   On Your Knees for Metal (3:09) 
10. Black Leather (4:16) 

Portugal's proud purveyors of traditional heavy metal come back with their third heavy metal assault! I found "Aggresive Hauntings" to be immediately likeable, unlike their frist two albums which took several spins to soak up. The difference in more accessible songwriting and especially the raw, unpolished and aggressive vocals of Lex Thunder, who channels his inner Rob Halford and King Diamond. From screeching highs to haunting lows, Lex hits the nail on the head in each and every song, bringing about memorable hooks and charismatic songs.

The album opens with "The Law", an organ instrumental that borrows heavily from bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor". This short opening acts as a great mood setter for the overall creepy and unsettling feel of "Aggressive Hauntings". The album is song after song of aggressive classic heavy metal driven by the dual guitars of Iron Fist and Steelbringer, as well as the pummeling rhythm section of  War Tank (drums) and Dalton (bass). Song after song these metal maniacs beat your brain in with one heavy metal anthem after the other. The overall theme of the album is definitely haunting and ominous, but there are breaks from the ghost stories and silliness of "Sin for Satan". Songs like "Iron Heart" and "On Your Knees For Metal" sing of the praises of heavy metal. In particular "On Your Knees..." has that classic, arena, power anthem vibe of the early 80s.

Midnight Priest are definitely one of those bands who proudly wear their influences on their sleeves. Fans of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Judas Priest, etc. will find much to like here. Had this album been released in 1983 people would have been hailing it for decades to come. As it stands it is an all killer, not filler, heavy metal record.


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