Midnight Realm – Engineering the Apocalypse (Self-Released)

Friday, 21st July 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

From Newcastle, UK, Midnight Realm is a five-piece outfit that straddle the fence between melodic death metal and metalcore for this latest album Engineering the Apocalypse. Establishing themselves in 2012 through their Polarissima debut EP and follow-up single “The Rebuild” in 2014 (featuring Mutiny Within vocalist Chris Clancy), the band would go on a hiatus from 2015 until 2019 when a new lineup appeared for the single “I, The Architect”. Now armed with latest members Kirk Hepburn on vocals and Chris Diboll on bass, listeners can enjoy a seven-track concept record that includes guest appearances from members of Scar Symmetry, Cognizance, and Solarus to flesh out an already enticing, solid presentation.

The basic mechanics of musicianship possess the right solid riff to hook measures, injecting circular melodies in the guitar runs or specific choruses to keep heads bobbing freely to the tantalizing main drive each track delivers. Aspects of Scar Symmetry to Soilwork and even djent/breakdown angles allow the swirling guitar to cyber keyboard spots for “Kings Will Crawl” to be an early mid-album standout – background choir vocals adding dynamic tension to the cavalcade of chugging rhythms plus growls, screams, or clean, emotional main vocal parts rising to the top. The drumming from Patrick Deans travels across everything from Fear Factory-like pummeling to thrash/melodic death pastures – “Beckoned to Bleed” and the almost eleven-minute epic “Polemos” featuring a treasure trove of his fluid, versatile progressive to groove hitting abilities. Exotic textures in softer segmentation appear in transference to the aggressive, distortion-filled parts – the orchestration adding another layer of depth against the heavier proceedings. Add in the storyline of a troubled individual struggling to decipher premonitions from reality, making him think he is a prophet of global catastrophe, and the album represents an alluring top to bottom experience delivered in a very economical forty-minute window.

The UK may not necessarily be as well known for its melodic death metal as it is the healthy modern metalcore scene, but Midnight Realm successfully align to both aspects for Engineering the Apocalypse in a way that is motivating, addictive, and should lift the profile of the group across both platforms.

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