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Let me add my voice to the crowd of cheerleaders for this album which has just been re-released by Rise Above Records in 2012 with a different, more creepy cover for a North American audience. Easy to see why Lee Dorrian likes this cheerily named Japanese bunch who play a very melodic stoner doom metal with super-heavy and grinding bass, strong percussion section, a lead vocalist, Hideki Fukasawa, who sings with crushed rocks in his throat and lead guitar with a range of tones that goes '70-s retro and hard-edged raw in equal measures. The band's choice of subject matter - on this album, various notorious serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Aileen Wuornos of the United States and Andrei Chikatilo from Russia - may not be palatable to most people and is sure to alienate major commercial record labels but that's all the better for us! Fortunately the lyrics are sung in a growling death-metal style and are close to indecipherable so they don't interfere with listeners' enjoyment of the actual music which is the real joy of Church of Misery.
First track "I, Motherfucker (Ted Bundy)" begins strongly with a very strong and catchy riff - if it weren't for the title and the topic, this would be obvious single material as is also the second track, the even bouncier groove-tastic "Soul Discharge (Mark Essex)". Creepy samples and little snippets of news broadcasts detailing the different serial murderers' crimes pop up to add some nice cold chill here and there in most songs. Impossibly the band ventures into near-ballad territory with little touches of atmospheric synthesiser on "Red Ripper Blues (Andrei Chikatilo)" - how's that for a seriously sick sense of humour? The singing is similarly laid-back but the roaring riff-heavy music juggernaut chorus is never far away.
The band do a cover of a Cactus song "One Way ... or Another" which is an out-and-out rock'n' roll song that sounds a bit '70s in melody and structure with plenty of lead guitar breaks and steely riffing. Go further and "Candy Man (Dean Coroll)" is rather disappointing filler for a band like Church of Misery, in the context of otherwise stirring music.
"El Topo" is a departure for the band - it may be a homage to the Alejandro Jodorowsky film of the same name - and is mostly instrumental with many ambient synthesiser effects.
Bonus track "For Mad Men Only (May Blitz Cover - extended version" is the real treat of this reissue: the sound and production are less polished but the minimal treatment lends a raw, hungry and energetic quality to the music and Church of Misery sound like a real bunch of hairy hippie dope-smoking rockers! The lyrics are shoved out of the way as fast as possible so the lead guitar can shoot off on its own cosmic trajectory and the synthesiser squeals go their own way in the stratosphere up ahead. The rhythm section maintains the time-keeping momentum with no breakouts of its own but I'm not worried: the rollercoaster ride with the lead guitarist, the crazy singer's yabberings and his synth-playing will be mind-blowing enough for most people.
Apart from a few tracks towards the end, this album has energy, dance-worthy riffing and melodies and inspired musicianship to spare and if you don't already know Church of Misery, this second album is the best place to introduce yourself to their particular stoner doom metal style. Melody and massive riffing with a grinding bass and rhythm are sure to trap you in the band's evil serial-killer fantasies. Fans of Boris, Greenmachine and Corrupted should check these guys out.
I fundamentally believe that Church of Misery is immune to criticism; no logical human can intelligently look at the band and deface their glorious sonic assault. For those on the uninformed side of the coin, these Japanese doomsters have established quite a loyal following after much of the metallic universe heard the group's retrogressive reach into stoner/doom metal territory, landing not quite far from Black Sabbath. "The Second Coming," while acting as a direct continuation of the sound largely molded throughout "Master of Brutality," proudly gloats in the fact that it is an overall improvement in just about every category on the musical and empirical end, even though there was nothing wrong with Church of Misery's debut in the first place. Their material is generally crispier than the aforementioned release, and never fails to bite hard and discharge anvils of bruising satisfaction.
Oh yea, did I mention the lyrical groundwork of Church of Misery's endeavors revolves around serial killers? Certainly the life and times of Ted Bundy and pals makes "The Second Coming" even more enamoring, but hey, let's not glaze over the harbinger of the real goods here: the stoner/doom sandwich. On paper, "The Second Coming" is your standard stoner/doom affair with all the bluesy, crushing riffs and formulas one would expect. The kicker? Church of Misery covers your ass in gallons of awesome guitar chops even if you resist; every song is loaded with more zesty riffs than the average bear could ever fathom. The production and energy they apply both strike like lightning out of Zeus' palm; it's impossible to not go completely crazy from the emitting power of this album. Nothing incongruous at all appears on the record, and it thankfully remains true to its roots and never disappoints; only a handful of factions match the consistency of these Japanese nutcases.
Compared to the debut, the musical direction largely remains similar, but the individual performances are definitely in an upgraded stage. Yoshiaki Negishi's vocals here stretch beyond his work on "Master of Brutality" because his use of gritty harsh vocals seems sturdier than before, and the clean register he uses just feels that much better too. "Soul Discharge (Mark Essex)" throws in this killer cowbell-based solo section carefully crawling over a groovy bass mold, and it all flows so well despite coming out of nowhere; just an example of the improvements on the songwriting end which most of the album proudly boasts. In essence, "The Second Coming" flows better and tells the tale of maturation and overall improvement on the instrumental end without losing the initial infatuation that sparked the group's fire in the first place.
An unrelentingly awesome piece of stellar stoner/doom metal for the ages, "The Second Coming" has unanimously earned the approval of Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and Ottis Toole as one of the finest gems lying dormant in the doom metal underground. With approval coming from just about every orifice of death, Church of Misery has officially earned an important role in doom metal as its unstoppable badass (as if one could ever question the legitimacy of a band with a song called "I, Motherfucker"). Needless to say, this record absolutely rules. Church of Misery doesn't sound like something you'd enjoy? Go on a roadtrip with Aileen Wuornos and die, pig.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
In 2004, Church of Misery put out their second (official) studio album. I can’t remember that many great releases in metal that came out that year, but The Second Coming is easily one of the best. It’s got everything you could ever ask for in a stoner album and it’s ferocious. The album starts off with a mountain of feedback and a sample of a news report about Ted Bundy who is “one of the worst sex murderers of all time.” Just listening to the scream of “IIIII MOTHER FUCKUUUUUURRR” on top of the most awesome drumline in doom history is a good indicator that this album will have places to go after starting out so well.
One thing I did notice when listening to this album and something that continued to boggle me all the way through was just how harsh and ear-splitting the sound of the instruments were. The guitars are heavily over-driven and the bass is loud as the drums are sharp and heavy. I’ve never heard such an aggressive album in my life, especially from a stoner band. But this is what Church of Misery is good at, delivering doom that really gets you excited. Each song has an array of riffs and atmospheres, and in the end the album concludes the same way it began and “I, Motherfucker” briefly repeats, leaving you dumbfounded by the end of the record.
Church of Misery plain out rocks. Riff after riff after riff rips you out a new asshole and leaves you to bleed and die in a remote landscape. There’s maybe one iffy song on the album and all the others are excellent. This ultimately produces one stellar album that simply cannot be reckoned with.
I am fairly new to Stoner Metal, and have had very few tastes for such genre. My first real hit of Stoner Metal was Bongzilla's Amerijuanican, and I absolutly loved it because of how mellow it was. It reminded me SO much of Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of it to keep me still satisfied. About a month or so later, I got to listen to Church Of Misery, and have to say, this is TOTALLY fucking awesome.
What I have noticed with this, is that this is not so much mellow stoner metal, but more catchy and rough. Rough not in the sense of sludge though like how Bongzilla's sound is, but rough as in HEAVY as hell. When I am stoned, and I listen to this, it makes me want to jam to it, but when I listen to Bongzilla, it makes me want to trip out in a hotbox. Either of them are great, even though I prefer tripping out. The catchyness of this album totally makes up for it.
I have to say that I love the vocals, I love the riffs because they are SO much more melodic in a groove-ish sense. You GOTTA love it. My favorite tracks on this album are Red Ripper Blues, Filth Bitch Blues because I would say that are what are the most catchy. As for the best example of Stoner Metal, the best track for that is Candyman, and El Topa because it's one of the more mellow tracks on here. El Topa being one of my favorites too.
BOTTOMLINE: Catchy, Rough, Great Vocals, Great Riffs, Great Drums, Hell, Why not just go out and give this a good listen to. If that's not what you're looking for, give it a listen anyways, it's not like you have anything to lose. You just might change you're mind after listening to this.
HOLY MOTHERFUCKING ASS
This is one of the best stoner metal albums I've heard in a while. Everything this band releases is fucking gold, actually. This stood out to me because...it's so goddamn groovy. It's so groovy, it hurts.
The stoned-out guitar tone this band uses is godly. It makes for some of the coolest and most inventive riffs in the genre, and also some funky soloing and weird breaks that honestly make you say "what the fuck, that was fucking cool". The drumming is very catchy, at times it reminds me of Electric Wizard except this guy uses cymbals much more overtly (his splash is kind of annoying at times and it's blatant, but we'll let it slide). This is basically Electric Wizard if they were given a bunch of books on famous killers/rapists, tons of drugs, and became Japanese people who were obsessed with groove.
This CD is slightly different from Master of Brutality. Namely, the vocalist uses harsh/growl vocals more often (usually to a greater degree and they sound good too), and the tracks are a bit shorter, yet they fit more groove riffs and weird spaced-out solos a lot more. The bass is hilariously loud on this album, as well, as it should be.
Overall, another step in the right direction for this band, another Japanese band that can practically do no friggin' wrong. Highlights? Take your pick they're all fucking awesome. Personally? Red Ripper Blues, Filth Bitch Boogie, and I Motherfucker are the picks. Whatever. J-metal forever.