No, not the city of Middenheim in the province of Middenland from Warhammer, this post is instead going to be about black metal band Middenheim who were from Peterborough in the UK.
According to metal-archives.com, Middenheim were active between 2007 and 2010 and at some stage during their short run as an active band changed their name to Middenhelm (I assume to avoid potential copyright issues with Games Workshop).
Arkhan – Bass
Arkheon – Keyboard
Lord Nagash – Vocals
Malekith – Guitar, Drum programming
Count Zanamere – Guitar
I’ve had a copy of their demo ‘Tempero Haud Moratlis’ sat in my collection since 2008, I suspect I may have traded a copy of the Nebular Frost demo/rehearsal compilation for it as I used to interact with the band occasionally back in the myspace days.
There are three tracks on this demo, packaged in a glossy paper sleeve with a lyrics sheet. The first track is ‘Catacombs of the Ice King’. This is followed by an instrumental track named ‘A Time of Sorrow’ and the disc ends with ‘Baroden’s Blood Oath’. From what I can remember this is a pretty decent sounding little demo, leaning towards the melodic side of the black metal genre. I’m going by memory because the CD has decided it wants to be a coaster, as it won’t play in any device I own (I’ve tried it on my laptop, my girlfriends mac book, my hi-fi CD deck, and also the little hi-fi we keep in the kitchen. Nothing can read it). However, their myspace page still has tracks uploaded to it, hurrah!
There are a couple of rough demos up here, as well as a couple of tracks from the coaster I possess, and one track that looks to be from another demo from 2007. The first rough demo track ‘Sacrificial War Offering’ does sound pretty rough, but in a genre that was built upon rough production it doesn’t really have much of an impact on the listening experience. The guitar sounds a bit weak at times and the ambient introduction goes on for a bit too long, but otherwise it’s somewhat reminiscent of pre-Midian era Cradle of Filth. No where near as bombastic though in its demo form, but with some decent mixing and mastering this could definitely come close.
Streaming on myspace seems to be a bit shit this evening, so I’m skipping over ‘Avengers of Forochel’ as it refuses to start playing. ‘Catacombs of the Ice King’ however kicks in without issue, and a brief keyboard introduction starts the song off. Again, this reminds me of early Cradle of Filth. The drums have a solid punch throughout this song driving everything forward, while the keyboard floats along in the background adding that gothic and catacomb-like wintery atmosphere. A strong song, worthy of a stronger mixing and mastering job.
‘Baroden’s Blood Oath’ begins rather abruptly, I imagine due to the preceding instrumental track leading into it with some build up. This track strikes a balance between slow and murky atmosphere, and then well placed thrash attacks with suitable guitar solo’ing. It has me nodding my head, which is always a positive sign. The pace is changing enough that it remains coherent but it makes sure you pay attention to what’s going on via stomping riffs intermixed with technical keyboard hooks. Unfortunately it just ends without much fanfare, it felt as though it was building towards another solo or thrash section, but instead the band chose to fade the song to a close leaving you wanting more.
Judging from the tracks available on their myspace page, Middenheim were a pretty solid melodic black metal band. It’s unfortunate that these tracks never saw a fully realised release, as with some improved mixing and mastering they could have put out an album that would have been very well received. I’m a bit pissed off about the fact that my copy of ‘Tempero Haud Moratlis’ has declared itself to now be a coaster. I had planned to upload the tracks to YouTube. But hey, extra coasters are always useful.