Released: 2010, AreaDeath Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Formerly known as Mercenari, and later on as Midian, this New Jersey-based thrash act has somehow slipped outside on my radar back in the day when they were still creating lots of noise around them, and releasing some demos during 1990-91.
So good to see there are labels like this Chinese AreaDeath Productions around these days that can truly appreciate the past underground times of frenzied thrash. This double-CD package of Midian, screamed to be released. I mean, listening to Midian brings me quite a few associations to some other thrash/hardcore bands that were building up their fanbase during the 80s and early 90s period. Take Anthrax´s FISTFUL OF METAL and Overkill´s FEEL THE FIRE albums, and then roll it around with such bands like the demo era of Vio-lence, Num Skull, Sepultura SCHIZO/BENEATH-era, Crumbsuckers, etc. – and I think you are pretty close to getting a taste of Midian on your lips of how they sounded like back then. Talk about some aggressive, in-yer-face, heavily riff-based and crisp thrash metal, with some hardcore-ish elements thrown in as a good and wild measure.
Midian were/was (they have been reformed in 2010) seriously a kick-ass thrash act, and it´s a true pity that they never got on opportunity to make any full-length albums of their own. I guess they were just too late; the 90s had just started – and labels were hunting down all these new ´n´ hot names in the underground death metal scene at that time. Thrash metal as a metal genre, had started to struggle in popularity form of metal music while at the same time death metal had just started to raise its ugly and infamous head from the darkest pits of the underground toward the daylight.
Nevertheless, both discs – featuring both Mercenari´s and Midian´s stuff (demo, live and video stuff – 29 tracks added with 3 video clips), give a good amount of sheer pleasure to its listeners for introducing this New Jersey thrash unit as a madly thrashing bunch that didn´t take any prisoners, more like metaphorically speaking, of course. Midian´s highly energetic, absolutely neck-breaking thrash is emphasized on the 4-track demo 1990, titled THE LAST WAR, offering kind of the best sides from them musically in my opinion. It reminds me quite a bit of all that frenzy and aggression that the Bay Area thrash heroes Vio-lence had on their 2nd 4-track demo (Sean Killian on vocals). Hell, even Deam Martinetti managed partly to sound vocally like a twin brother of Mr. Killian on this demo, so the apple hasn´t dropped too far away from the tree, if I might add even.
The 3 video clips on the 2nd disc are also pretty nice to watch, too - reflecting clearly the times when people were still allowed to take video cameras with them to concerts, and film bands´ performances without some security coming to knock on their shoulders to tell them they are not allowed to film the bands for the copyright reasons or whatever. These 3 clips have been – surprise, surprise, filmed from among the audience and even if the picture quality surely leaves lots of things to be hoped for, the sound quality pretty much makes it up for it. Good stuff, and definitely worth watching as well.
It´s good to get one piece of the US thrash history under one package again – and this Midian´s double-CD is even more worth purchasing than a big part of today´s retro-thrash dumping place that tends to stink even miles away over the road.