2011 Stormspell Records
There are worlds other than this one. There exists an entire multiverse of infinite worlds with limitless possibilities. My point? I'm getting to that. Have you ever wondered what might have happened if Iron Maiden had a different pair of well-known guitarists back in their early days? Instead of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, what if Hank Shermann and Michael Denner had joined Iron Maiden? The answer to that question of course cannot be conclusively answered, but Portugal's Midnight Priest do give us an idea of what might have been in this little hypothetical question of ours. We are, of course ignoring the vocals in all of this. Singer "The Priest" does have a good voice, but he comes much closer to Kai Hansen than Dickinson or Di'Anno. The nine tracks here all have that well-known Maiden "thump" to them, but in terms of the guitar team, their tunings, soloing style, and just overall sound are right in line with the old Mercyful Fate albums. For the best proof of all this, look no further than "Segredo de Familia." This track sounds like it could easily have been written by Shermann back in the glory days of Fate. In fact, the further into this album one gets, the more it begins to sound more like a Mercyful Fate album than an Iron Maiden one (although "Cidade Fantasma" has the most Maiden-like sound of any track on the album). So it might even have been that Steve Harris would not be the main songwriter in this theoretical band of ours. Lucky for us, Midnight Priest then, is a real band! One small interesting point of note: on their debut ep, Midnight Priest displayed little or no similarity to Mercyful Fate's sound. Had I written this review at that time, we'd be talking a lot about Running Wild instead!