Gig Review: Midnight, Cyclone, High Command

review and photography by Olivia Matthews

With the release of their brand new album ‘Hellish Expectations’, Midnight took their brand of Black’n’roll Speed Metal across Europe. Midnight were joined by Belgian Thrash Metal outfit Cyclone and the US fantasy themed Thrashers High Command. With the Hellish Expectations European Tour hitting Rebellion in Manchester, it was something that couldn’t be missed out on.

High Command opened the show in style with the song ‘Omniscient Flail of Infamy’, however, vocalist Kevin Fitzgerald was wielding a sword at the start of the set instead. This is the second time the band have played Manchester in the past year, the last appearance being Damnation festival ( you can find a review of the festival here ). The rest of their opening setlist consisted of a mixture of songs off their first album ‘Beyond the Wall of Desolation’ and their 2022 follow up, the revered ‘Eclipse of the Dual Moons’. These included ‘Fortified by Bloodshed’ and ‘Merciless Steel’ .

High Command rounded off their set with the song ‘Sword of Wisdom’ so naturally the sword came out again ( as pictured above). This set was great start to the evening and set the tone for the rest of the show. If you haven’t seen High Command yet, I highly recommend catching them at the nearest opportunity as they’re one of the most exciting emerging bands in the genre.

Next up, were the Belgian Thrashers Cyclone on their first tour of the UK. The band mostly played songs off their 1986 album ‘Brutal Destruction’ with songs such as ‘In the Grip of Evil’ and ‘Fighting the Fatal’. Vocalist Guido Gevels asked the crowd if they remembered the year the album was released but it seemed that most people at the venue weren’t born, something which Guido then joked about. Cyclone were a great bridge between High Command and Midnight, keeping up the high energy Thrash Metal. When going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Cyclone as they were a band that I wasn’t familiar with, however they put on a great show and I would see them again.

Midnight came straight out the gate with ‘Lord in Chains’ and immediately had the crowd engaged with their high energy speed metal assault. The band played pretty much the entirety of the ‘Hellish Expectations’ album, with the songs ‘Deliver Us to Devil’ and ‘Slave of the Blade’ the only tracks missing from the setlist. Fortunately, with Midnight’s brand of short fast songs they were able to squeeze another ten songs into the setlist. These songs included classics such as ‘You Can’t Stop Steel’ and ‘Satanic Royalty’.

Midnight were relentless with their sonic onslaught and high energy set which included multiple runs across the stage and leaps from the guitar cabs. Toward the end of the set, Athenar asked the crowd if they wanted to hear three more songs but ended up playing more. The Blackened Speed Metal giants delivered an extremely enjoyable set to round off the night of high speed Metal. The band are continuing their Hellish Expectations European Tour , and hopefully another UK tour will not be too far away.

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