Midnight Rider – Beyond the Blood Red Horizon (Massacre Records)Friday, 7th October 2022
In today’s musical landscape, musicians float freely developing styles that put a distinct stamp on a proven sound. When taking in the second record Beyond the Blood Red Horizon for German band Midnight Rider for instance, most will not be hard pressed to hear the numerous classic hard rock/metal heritage trademarks of the 70’s front and center – although the cleaner/futuristic cover art may not mirror early expectations. The organic, analog recording methods emit additional retro vibes, but rest assured this quartet possess those tangible creative chemistry plus cohesive construction aspects necessary to fire up the legions.
The seductive, airy/alternative nature to Wayne’s vocal delivery along with the fierce, doom/heavy guitar tone courtesy of Blumi allows the title track to get this record off to a galvanizing start in mid-tempo anthem fashion. A love of UFO, Black Sabbath, early Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin are evident, plus the treasures of Budgie or Rainbow when it comes to particular bluesy/heavy riffs, semi-spotlight bass/drum sequences, and the thick layers of circular guitar licks that attract equal attention to the main hooks. The low-end bass swinging aspects to “No Man’s Land” transmit early Sabbath meets Clutch angles, while the evil bombast fills from Tim as the lyrics extol the virtues of live rock/metal during “On Parole” make this a second half winner. The cascading licks next to reflective clean guitar lines allow “Time of Dying” to burst with primal energy, Wayne hitting some insane high notes as the arrangement goes back and forth between a semi-ballad to a Judas Priest-like metal crusade straight out of the Stained Class-era. Instinctive musical shuffles encourage bolder, forceful singing at times – where chameleon-like nuances out of the Ozzy/Rob Halford nature occur for personal favorite “Intruder” – the twin harmonies reminiscent of first album Iron Maiden.
Split adequately as a side a (tracks 1-5) / side b (tracks 6-10) in that vinyl format people could not live without in this period, Midnight Rider are another European entry that take a love of the 70’s classic rock/metal and deliver intoxicating, feel good heavy music that has the potential to turn heads while keeping them returning for more.