Midnight - Shox of Violence - (7/10)
Published on February 15, 2017
Originally released as a four track EP at the end of 2016, this latest version of Shox of Violence sees the addition of twenty-one tracks; mostly in the form of cover songs, live tracks, and a handful of demos. Basically these extra tracks have turned the release into the band’s fourth compilation album, which means Cleveland’s sleaziest blackened speed metal band now has twice as many compilations as full length albums.
The four EP tracks, for which the compilation is named, show Midnight in fine form. Fast paced speed metal riffing, with more than a tinge of punk rock aesthetic, provide a rampaging backing for Athenar’s rabid shouts. The double kick percussion, taken from the book of Philthy Phil Taylor, and the thumping bass lines thunder along, and every so often a few quick, yet solid solos fill the air. What follows, though, is a slew of tracks cycling through Midnight’s past few years, along with a barrage of cover tracks and live offerings. While a lot of the tracks have been previously released on limited singles, splits and whatnot, one must admit the convenience of having everything in the same place.
The cover tracks are really hit and miss across the board, but it definitely gives some perspective into the (otherwise obvious) influences at play in Midnight’s music. The band tackles tracks from the infamous Cleveland punk band The Pagans, some noisy punk for the people from The Spits, as well as a track each from Quiet Riot, Taipan, Mistreater, Girlschool, Scaraba and Crucifixion. As far as the covers go, Midnight’s take on classic Venom fodder, “In League with Satan” and “Too Loud for the Crowd” are the standouts among the bunch. Midnight puts their own foul and filthy twist on all of the songs, but “Slick Black Cadillac” might just be the most surprising transformation.
Some of the tracks are beyond raw, with the lowest lo-fi production imaginable, and the live tracks, despite the pulsing energy, sound like they were recorded in a dumpster. There really seems to be no rhyme or reason with the production job; if it’s already on tape they threw it in. That’s something that really makes the compilation play through like a haphazard collection of filler, among some pristine riff-centric blackened speed metal. Does that make Shox of Violence any less blasphemous and fun? Hell no, but just remember to take this one for what it is.