MIDAS - Demo Tapes
February 29, 2020, a month ago
(Dying Victims Productions)
Despite the title, these are not inferior (quality) sound recordings, but a compilation of former cassette-only releases, updated to digital. ‘70s hard rock meets early ‘80s proto metal on the eight tracks from Detroit area outfit, who aren't old enough to remember the "good old days." To these ears, somewhere between Norwegian band Flight and Sweden's (sadly now defunct) Black Trip, as well as a little Dead Lord. In all honesty, there's bits of The Dagger and Night too, which (judging from the lack of response to the aforementioned) virtually guarantees Midas will be ignored in North America (which is a shame), but highly prized (and praised) overseas. Let's hope so.
Kick drum and sporadic twin guitar notes open "Clash Of Steel", which gradually picks up the pace, raw fuzzy sound and by the second verse, the band are hammering on all cylinders. The vintage tones on the dual solo/break are a step back in time. Only one of the compositions (5:53 "Blackened Blade) cracks five minutes and "Street Knights", as close as it gets to fully metal, is over in 3:01. Gritty guitar greets "Gauntlet", but just as quickly, it's spiced with a second, higher register six-string. Along with the oft abrupt pace changes, there's also a lot of hooks/sing-along harmonies in these constructs. This one offers the first extended, somewhat laidback guitar solo. "White Lightning" builds from the introduction of lone guitar notes, into a speedy track with underbelly in the distortion-filled Motor City's past (MC5, Nugent, etc.)
The aforementioned "Blackened Blade" is the album's standout, with a direct link to the upstart European contemporaries that led off this piece. There's a mainstream sensibility, invaded by a simple, infectious and recurrent guitar nugget that worms its way into the subconscious (to later be reiterated, even when there's no music around). Halfway through, they lay down another tasty solo spot. Listen to that sustain. Another up-tempo number, "Sands Of Time" features prominent use of ride cymbal and a sampling of Middle Eastern rhythms within the rock-out, Western music context. Conversely, there's an almost Celtic jig (or maybe it's just NWOBHM beat) to start "Usurper". The "White Wolf" finale offers plenty of cool, freak-out guitar and a solo. Really impressive stuff, from a heretofore unknown entity. Bet they're snapped up by a bigger (European based) label, come the next outing.
Time will tell if the high energy Midas has the golden touch!