Here at 10 bands fans of Motorhead and Venom need to know, chosen by Midnight's Athenar.

What You Need to Know About Midnight

From: Cleveland, Ohio

First Album: Satanic Royalty (2011)

New Album: Hellish Expectations

In the eight years prior to the 2011 debut album, Midnight burned up the underground circuit with their infectious brand of Motorhead and Venom worship, crowned with a blackened touch.

For more than 20 years, bandleader Athenar has served as the multi-instrumentalist behind Midnight's recordings of various splits, EPs and, now, six full length records. Onstage, he pulls double duty as bassist and vocalist, flanked by other hooded bandmates who deliver an engaging, high-energy show.

Snotty, Hell-positive blackened speed metal, Midnight conjure up all sorts of underworld visuals while casting out those unfaithful to heavy metal's old ways. "Why would I want you to die? So you could be free? Don't want to see you in Hell, not next to me," Athenar cries out in Hellish Expectations' "F.O.A.L.," a playful reversal of the "fuck off and die" adage, cursing someone to stay away and keep on living, loser.

Check out the music video below.

Midnight, "F.O.A.L." Music Video

So, with Athenar being a leading purveyor of all things unholy and rotten, we picked his brain about some other like-minded acts who count Motorhead and Venom among their chief influences.

See his picks below.

'Hellish Expectations' is out now on Metal Blade. Follow Midnight on Instagram, Bandcamp and Facebook.

10 Bands Motorhead + Venom Fans Need to Know, Chosen by Midnight's Athenar

Midnight's Athenar performs at The Fillmore on March 26, 2017 in San Francisco, California.
Miikka Skaffari, FilmMagic/Getty Images

ZZ Top (Let Him Explain!)

First, what about like-minded bands that pre-date Venom and Motorhead, but still had that same sort of intention and feel?

It goes to show with Motorhead covering "Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers," so I thought of ZZ Top. The riff from "No Class" and "Tush," it's the same riff. It's not very far off.

You have the three piece and the boogie beats. They both have them.

ZZ Top, "Tush"

Motorhead, "No Class"


A band that sometimes gets overlooked is Inpesy. They're from right around the time that Midnight started as well, maybe even a couple of years before. When I first heard them, I went into a friend's record store and he put them on to get my impression.

When I walked in the door, I almost felt embarrassed because I didn't know who it was. "It sounds like it's from 1984. Why don't I know it?" He told me it was Inepsy, a brand new band. They also had this Discharge-like crusty punk sound.

Inepsy, "Rock 'N' Roll Babylon"


They're really fucking good. I was unaware of them until a couple years ago when we played with them in Germany. I got their album immediately after that.

The singer was intense without being too growly and aggressive. They come from a good lineage of Belgian speed metal like Acid, Ostrogoth and Cyclone.


We toured with them in 2018 on the west coast. I have a channel of water in my backyard that goes out to a lake, so I'll go out and play on the ice like any normal 50-year-old fucking kid does.

I always text Ryan Waste when I'm out there because they have a song called "Ice." When they played it live when we were touring with him, he would go, "This song is called 'Iiiiiiiiiiiiice'."

So I always text him and take a picture that I'm on the ice.

Hot Graves

We played with them years ago when they first started.

It was cool because that was the first band that I knew of that took a Midnight song title and made it their band name. I felt like Judas Priest. So many band names are taken from Judas Priest song titles.

Hot Graves, "Structural Violence"


I met James years ago. He told me, "I just took Midnight riffs and made them my own." He was a really young dude and it was cool that he got into Midnight before he got into a lot of the stuff that I was ripping off.

I met him in Czech Republic at, I think, the Brutal Assault festival. I wasn't drinking, but we had all these free drink tickets and they had absinthe. I just kept giving him my drink tickets and he just kept fucking down absinthe. He got totally fucking obliterated to the point where he didn't know where his friends were, everybody was gone, I was like, "Okay. Well, we'll see you later, man. We've got to go. I don't know. Sorry, bye." I felt so bad, but we had to go.

They're a great live band and really have some great energy live with the tempos.

Hellripper, "The Nuckelavee" (Live)

Children of Technology

They're another good one with a Carnivore reference in the band name.

Children of Technology, "No Man's Land"


Bonehunter are a cool band from Finland.

Bonehunter, "Black Magic M16"


They've got this cool [Metallica] Kill 'Em All guitar sound where he can play good leads and stuff, not just totally wanky leads or total schlop.

Bewitcher, "Satanic Magick Attack"


The last year or two years ago they were just playing stuff off the first two albums and did it proper. Man, it was so fucking good.

A while ago, AC Wild wasn't playing bass and was singing behind a podium. That was cool, but this thing that they did like two years ago just crushed. The early stuff was fucking perfect.

Bulldozer, "Fallen Angel"

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