Released: 2011, StormSpell Records
The day before I wrote this review, Germany crushed Portugal 4-0 in the opening round of the 2014 World Cup. I could not help but thinking if the Portuguese team had listened to the debut album of Midnight Priest on their iPods before the game they would put in a more inspired performance.
Released a few years back this debut full-length album from the quintet, really caught my ear. They have a fine sense of capturing that creepy sound that was first pioneered by Mercyful Fate. Other new young bands like Portrait and Below are also attempting to emulate (or at the very least drawing inspiration from) some of the bands from that era. The purple cover art, design and layout, as well as the cover shot of a haunted house reminds me very much of a King Diamond solo album. It is a good package with photos, glossy booklet and lyrics that are in Portuguese. Oddly enough the album was recorded in Poland and they met up with Marta of Crystal Viper who sang some back-up vocals and added some keyboards.
MIDNIGHT PRIEST is a little on the short side, with nine cuts at 38 minutes, but it is very effective. The album opens with some haunting and atmospheric keyboard work that sets the tome for the longest song, ‘Sabado Negro’, which means ‘Black Saturday’. The tone and tempo of this album is very much dark and intense and much of that is created by the vocal style of ‘The Priest’ who certainly has a strong King Diamond influence. I really like his vocals a mix of sung, spoken bits, and higher screams. He is a very charismatic vocalist. The tone and production is very much in a traditional metal style warm and inviting. There are also a few sound effects like wind, a church bell and some brief acoustic parts all contributing to the overall mood of the album. The songs are very melodic and catchy with good metallic riffs supporting the conventional arrangements.
I’m very impressed with this album, not despite the similarities to King Diamond/Mercyful Fate, but because of them. Not too many bands are doing this style of Metal and they have an appealing interpretation of the sound and style. I hope the lack of English lyrics does not hinder the wider success that Midnight Priest deserve.