How could I NOT review something with cover art that looks like this? It could be a ukilele tribute to 30 Seconds To Mars and I would still give it spin. Thankfully Midnight Chaser really sings about stuff I can relate to. I mean epic warfare, ancient mythology, and gruesome gore are all cool but these dudes are modern poets of partying. Nowhere is this most obvious than the opening tack, uh, “Awesome Party”. Really, guys? Subtlety is not the name of the game here. Instead, its all about throwing these jams on in the car (should you be driving?), grabbing your buddies (they don’t care), hitting the local beverage distributor (naturally) and crashing your friends’ kegger (bringing ice to the Eskimos. Brilliant). This is not a record that will pull any punches, surprise you with a ballad, or throw any pseudo-mythological Spinal Tap moments your way. Fans of Hagar, KISS and Thin Lizzy take note. The album is set for release on November 1st on Heavy Artillery records and is streaming in full on their bandcamp page.
The first 4 tracks are a pretty relentless party attack. Between “Awesome Party” , “Out On Your Shield”, the title track and “Swords for Hire”, Midnight Chaser hits with with strong, driving, slightly bluesy rockers which are meant to get you moving. The 80s-happy “Cougar’d” reminds me of Sweden’s Crazy Lixx in its unapologetic indulgence of sleaze rock. Strangely, this is one of the funnest and most well written songs on the album. Tons of cowbell, too. “Dynamite” uses violent imagery as sexual innuendo (“Love Gun” anybody?), which as I’ve mentioned before scores major points in my book. The best cut on here is the unassumingly named “earthquake”. A thundering riff with a great fill, Scott Attwood’s usual clean vocal hooks are perfect for the verse riff’s chord changes and a perfect half-time ascending chord riff for the solo conjure up retro rock perfection.
Though they cite Judas Priest, Motorhead and Deep Purple as influences I would say this is more for fans of Sammy Hagar, KISS, Aerosmith or Thin Lizzy. There’s also a subtle NWOBHM influence a la Raven or even Germany’s Running Wild. These can be heard on upbeat tracks like “Dynamite”. They lack the dominating twin axe attack of Priest and are not dirty enough for Motorhead. Nor is their any hint of the key-heavy psychedelia of Deep Purple. The music is very pentatonic based and doesn’t stray too far from mid-paced straightforward rockers. Now, I don’t think the band was going for this but the record is also interspersed with hints of 80s glam. This maybe because they sing about MILFs and stuff (was it necessary to actually use the phrase “casual encounter”? Ok, I guess it was) but the combo of the guitar tone and overall biker vibe also combine for a shades of Motley Crue or later Warrant. The downside is that some of the songs start to blend together after a while and Rough and Tough can start to sound like a house band, albeit a crisp and polished one. For others this may be a strength since it’s the perfect soundtrack to late-night mischief. This is a very promising full-length debut from a colorful, lighthearted rock band and its charm grows with every listen.