Midnight Chaser-Rough and Tough (Heavy Artillery)
I have a lot of respect for what Heavy Artillery is doing for the old school, traditional and heritage metal scenes, releasing such stellar power/thrash gems as Sign of the Jackal whilst remaining unerringly true to their metallic cause. All too often, however, I see new releases from bands like Midnight Chaser and just shake my head. Arriving with faux ironic 80s cover art-which is bright, ironic and laughably terrible-Rough and Tough claims 70s inspired hard rock roots, but the depth of execution really leaves a bit to be desired, despite the points earned for taking their name from a White Spirit song.
Musically speaking, the guitar abilities of Stephen Lauck are workmanlike and effective-if a bit simplistic-evoking positive memories of Saxon, Thin Lizzy and Diamond Head at times, while the vocals of Scott Attwood are a bit nasal, but succeed in a manner which is half Bob Mayo (Wargasm) and half Kevin Heybourne (Angel Witch). In more recent news, it seems as if ex-Mordred/Laaz Rockit axeman Sven Soderlund has joined the band’s ranks on second guitar, so perhaps the sophomore effort will pack a bit stronger punch.
For as it stands now, it’s the silly songs like “Cougar’d” which really bring Midnight Chaser down, sounding more like Steel Panther/Darkness styled cheese than anything forged in fire or baptized in steel. Missteps like this-combined with the one-dimensional, unimaginative direction of the songwriting-make Rough and Tough a difficult album to recommend to anyone other than those with low standards for their 70s/80s retro rock.
Written by MetalGeorge