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Imperial Sky Destroyer - 80%

Sweetie, January 12th, 2021

Probably one of the more anticipated debuts of our time, Midnight Spell finally cast their vision from the Between The Eyes demo into full-length format. For those unaware, these Miami, Florida based metal maniacs cast an old school-inspired heavy metal dish with leanings towards glam and speed alike. So it should go without saying that their style is pretty concise, with Sky Destroyer capitalizing on vocal harmony and gentle force.

Weirdly, this did not grab me the way I anticipated off the bat, but not necessarily in a negative sense, either. There’s a bit of a split between the two halves, and the back half made the front half easier to appreciate. Essentially, it eases you in strictly familiar territory, using on-the-nose tactics. “Midnight Ride” is a striking number, filled with booming drums and powerful vocals to blend in perfectly with the classic metal revival acts. You also get the soothing “Lady Of The Moonlight,” capturing early Dokken feels with its calm approach despite harder rhythms. The bassline and solo in particular are swell.

Once you cross the instrumental divider “Mercy,” things progressively flow into more of a Queensrÿche-meets-Van Halen tone. This track itself alters the mood with minor keys and slight spice, acting like a bridge. Songs like “To The Stars” and “Cemetery Queen” merge this approach with more involved musicianship, pumping out structural density that leaves no empty space. The latter utilizes slower build with drawn-out wails in an incredible way, taking the slot of my favorite track.

Altogether, Sky Destroyer leaves you with a disc that steers a familiar vehicle into a forest that’s a bit more original, if only a bit. None of these things are overly in-your-face, nor do the speed or sleaze overtake any of the traditional integrity. Though I could see Midnight Spell doing more with what they’ve got, their first full-length offering was solid and satisfying.

Originally written for Sleeping Village