Sunday, September 9, 2012

Black Sunday: Midnight - Satanic Royalty (2011) & Complete and Total Hell (2012)

Ohio's own Midnight only recently hit my radar and, even just a year removed from their full-length debut, Satanic Royalty, I feel way, way behind as these guys have apparently had a Venom-flavored portal to Hell open via Cleveland for nearly a decade. It was the release of their compilation of multiple EPs, Complete and Total Hell along with an excellent write-up on No Clean Singing that had me scrambling to Hell's Headbangers to grab this double-LP and flesh out the Midnight story.

Midnight have a strong visual aesthetic established and their presence is a consistent one across these records with a nice continuity in design and presentation. Satanic Royalty is certainly the glossier of the pair, literally so with a slick jacket as well as a beautiful heavy sleeve adorned with lyrics and bright blue artwork complementing both the cover and, in my case, the vinyl itself. The blue is dark enough to convey the royalty the album's title communicates and both gold and black were also pressed. Add in a spectacular 18x24" poster and Satanic Royalty is easily one of the favorite additions to my library in the last year.

Complete and Total Hell is a generous package. A double-LP, it feels as heavy as it sounds. The stock is matte and, sadly, the heavy sleeves are really too big to store in the jacket without bending and stretching so use care in handling this one. The gatefold itself has a great photograph in the interior with reproductions of the EP artwork and the sleeves themselves have handwritten lyrics. The entire package conveys a DIY feel often consistent with a band's embryonic releases yet still feels branded as Midnight. Available in silver or black, Complete and Total Hell feels like a lush, generous offering at $16.66. Add in superb sound and one absolutely cannot go wrong with a one-stop two-piece instant Midnight collection for just around thirty bucks total from Hell's Headbangers.

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