Written by: Blackie Skulless
Ah yes, we’ve once more come around to one of those album covers where looking at it tells you exactly what you’re in for. If you guessed throwback traditional heavy metal, you’d be correct. Midnight Rider are a German-based group that have been around for nearly two decades, but only got around to a full length five years ago. Their follow-up titled Beyond The Blood Red Horizon dropped very recently, giving off vibes as warm as the colors on the cover.
Strangely enough, Midnight Rider avoids the speed metal trope that likes to be used in many variants of this type of project. Instead, the focus leans closer to the blusier end of things, channeling classic rock vibes under just enough metal riffing to qualify it as Judas Priest inspired. If their first album met with the debut Rainbow album, and topped things off with some thicker distortions, you’d basically get Beyond The Blood Red Horizon.
All the melodic leads with a dash of intricacy, combined with the blusier licks allow for some identity, considering the overly-modern production. Typically, I shy away from clean, stoner-type tones, but the bright colors allow me to overlook it. “No Man’s Land” is a good example of how the contrast between the two actually helps, rather than hurts. It should then go without saying that the basslines play a pretty important role, setting the mood for most of the songs. “Demons” has some of the tightest grooves on the entire disc, and closer “Always Marching On” feels like it could have been written by Ritchie Blackmore. The major keys and Thin Lizzy energy in “No Regrets” really let on the ‘70s vibes even more.
If you’re looking for a modern take on a classic sound that just teeters that line of rock and metal, then this is for you. In a way, it’s like Germany’s response to Freeways. Nothing overly heavy, harsh, or fast. Just kick back and roll forward on a joyride with no bumps in the road.
Midnight Rider - Beyond The Blood Red Horizon was released Oct. 7th, 2022 via Massacre Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.