Live Review: Midnight – Exchange, Bristol
9th July 2023
Words: Richard Oliver
Dark ominous clouds and stormy weather heralded a night of speed and darkness in Bristol as two bands brought their blackened speed metal attack to The Exchange venue in the city in what would be one of the hottest and loudest metal shows I have experienced for a good while.
In the support slot were Derby blackened thrashers Devastator. Devastator are a band that I have been meaning to check out for a while knowing that their music is right up my street but until this show I just hadn’t got round to it. As expected musically they were exactly what I like with a very old school sound but what took me aback was just how damn good they were live. A furious maelstrom of old school speed, thrash and black metal with a wedge of dirty rock ‘n’ roll mixed in taking cues from bands such as Bathory, Slayer, Venom, Celtic Frost, Sodom and Motörhead which quickly won over an initially hesitant and quiet audience.
The songs ranged from gnarly Celtic Frost worship to filthy black ‘n’ roll to all out thrash assaults with a set of riffs that would make any self respecting metalhead bang their head without due care or abandon with the set mainly taken from the bands “Baptised In Blasphemy” album though we were treated to a new song ‘Liar In Wait’ as well as a killer cover of the Motörhead classic ‘Iron Fist’. The band themselves were clearly having a ball on stage as well as being chuffed to be supporting the mighty Midnight and this enthusiasm really came across in the absolutely furious performance. It was just a killer heavy metal show which made me want to bang my head, throw the horns and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Definitely one of those bands to really keep an eye on.
The big question would be how would headliners Midnight follow that incredible support slot from Devastator and the answer is through sheer fucking intensity and volume. The anticipation was ridiculous in the venue as was the temperature as Midnight hit the stage and tore the faces off everyone in the room. The masked trio launched themselves onto the stage with both Aethenar and Sorg Of Satan rarely standing still for the duration of the set, throwing themselves around and basically being a storm of energy for the entire show whilst drummer Iron Possessor battered sheer hell out of his kit.
This intensity was carried over into the audience with some raucous moshpit action as well as sheer amounts of headbanging and fist banging coming from the sweaty masses. The set was a great mix with songs from the bands five albums as well as some deep cuts from 7 inches, splits and E.P.’s though some of the most well received songs included ‘Fucking Speed And Darkness’, ‘Satanic Royalty’, ‘Lust Filth And Sleaze’ and ‘Evil Like A Knife’. This was a show that seemed to get more intense as it went on as well as louder. Towards the end of the set it was so loud that when I breathed in I felt the waves of bass and the pounding of the bass drum penetrating my nostrils. By the time the band left the stage I think everyone was a sweaty and exhausted mess having been beaten up by the sonic power of blackened speed metal.
It was an absolutely glorious experience and Midnight are one of those bands who you simply must witness live once in your life and if possible in a small and sweaty venue. Overall it was a glorious night of old school metal showing that the old ways are the greatest even when performed by younger bands. This was an evening that proved that heavy fucking metal is truly alive and very well.