MIDNIGHT FORCE are a hard-working, sweat pouring metal band from Glasgow and “Dunsinane” is their first full-length album, following the release of a demo and an EP both of which unfortunately I haven’t heard. And frankly, if it wasn’t for Chris I don’t know if I would have the chance to listen to them since nowadays there are too many new releases but so little time.
Anyways. At first I thought that MIDNIGHT FORCE would be classified as another epic/doom metal band in the vein of ATLANTEAN KODEX – you know one of these “single-riff-ten-minute-song” bands – since the cover art referred to this style, yet I was wrong. MIDNIGHT FORCE is (another) traditional hard rock/metal retro band that revives the early glory of 80’s metal in the most vintage way.
The album kicks off with “Killer” a nasty fast paced hard/heavy song that could have been written by the TYGERS OF PAN TANG or very early IRON MAIDEN and it bears the first big surprise of the album: the vocals are quite slobbish, a little discordant and not so good. And not only that, but also the song it self seems to be standardised enough to be bland. However, the following tune, “The Scarlet Citadel”, is a major improvement. The band draws influences from early U.S. epic metal/rock bands (early MANILLA ROAD) in order to deliver the album’s best song. Catchy, heavy and inspired. Yet the rest of the album lacks of coherence and artistic quality. The band has some interesting ideas, take for example songs like “Witchfinder” or “Warlord Eternal”, but it fails to convert them to powerful memorable tunes. Most of the song are uninspired and the sloppy, weak vocals do not help at all.
What’s worse, however, is the aura of pretentiousness in the air. And this is not a problem with MIDNIGHT FORCE but for most “retro” bands, as the overall sound quality is “rigged” in order for the album to sound as if it was made in the 80’s. And while I love the 80’s metal sound, this affectation prevents me from enjoying the music. It seems that all these “retro” bands of our time try to imitate the sound of the 80’s so hard, they end up adopting some of this decade’s worst traits. Please, don’t try so hard, just be yourselves.
To make a long story short, this album didn’t out work for me. It has its moments but there are scattered. It lacks of originality and personality, but for the most part it lacks perception. Should they work harder, they could manage to come up with a better album. We just have to wait and see…