My iPod #268: Billy Talent – Devil in a Midnight Mass


The opening track to Billy Talent’s second album was built upon an ‘evil guitar riff’ that guitarist Ian D’Sa started playing one day. Lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz wondered what kind of evil would suit that riff, and found it one day when he read an article about a Catholic priest who was molested 150 children in the 90s and was then stabbed to death during his time in prison. As a result, one of Billy Talent’s darkest songs was created. A song which gets the blood racing and sends shivers down my spine each time it plays.

The thing is – I wasn’t so enthused by it when I first heard the song via its video all those years ago in 2006. Thinking about it now I am not so sure why. It was very quick, and was finished before I could absorb anything that was happening. The first time I really understood it was when I actually listened to it through my headphones – that’s when it hit me.

Starting with Ian’s lone menacing riff – the song explodes when the drums kick in along with an almighty “YEEEAAAAHH” from Ben. The verses describe the priest – the ‘devil in a midnight mass’ – whilst the pre-chorus and choruses depict the scene when the priest is killed in jail who will now sing ‘silent night for the rest of [his] life.’

That is all well and… good, but the most threatening part is the last forty-five seconds of the song when the riff repeats on and on as Ben says what could possibly be the priest’s last words before he dies, “Whisper, whisper, don’t make a sound/Your bed is made, it’s in the ground”. That comes to a halt for a split second before those two phrases are ceaselessly screamed at you by Ben, Ian and the bassist Jon before climaxing with an astonishing shriek which echoes right into the next track.

This song is scary. This song is awesome. The best Billy Talent album opener. Hands down. I look at another one tomorrow though.

This is the band’s impression of it when they heard the album mix for the first time.


Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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