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Misery Index has been on my watch list since their formation almost 10 years ago. They are not a band to be taken lightly and one I have certainly not forgotten about. Now inexorably into their departure from Dying Fetus comparisons, this is their 3rd album entitled 'Traitors'. The line up has stabilized and the songwriting is the best it's been, not leaving out any attributes that have make them a force to be reckoned with.
'We Never Come in Peace', is a tension-building, teaser track that begins this monster of an album. Things are good through the first few tracks although the ending to the title track (which finds itself at the number four slot) is a little dragged out, therefore slightly tiresome. Next, the midsection of the album is much like that of a pig: bloated. Aside from superb drumming by Adam Jarvis, these tracks have random leads, extended tremolo picking, and generally lazy riffing. In short, it doesn't get me anticipating the remainder of the album. The amount of time that these tracks consume is almost astounding because they are actual songs, not the secret mind-fuck track that historically eats the clock on classic grind releases. But back here in this greed-stricken land of poverty, the battles for Misery Index are fought longer. Maybe in a different view, you could say that they are conveying the feeling of a struggling working class through drawn out passages. These passages are steel straight to your throat, nothing 'progressive' going on here, but not all that visceral.
With that being said, let's talk about the second half of the Maryland-based outfit's third full-length, which is much like the first half, with some subtle variations at the end. 'Ruling Class Canceled' comes after 'Occupation' and was also released prior to this opus on a split seven inch with Swiss grinders Mumakil. On that version the sound was one of the 'biggest' I've heard, where it felt like you were at the base of an actual wall of sound with your neck bent at 90 degrees looking up.
On the Relapse version, engineered by Kurt Ballou, it's not quite the same unfortunately.
'The Arbiter' is a song I believe should have been placed directly in the middle of the album. It's a fast-paced thrash/grind cross over with a shout-along chorus. 'American Idolatry' brings to mind the Dissent EP, which of course is a good thing. And then the final tracks, which are two more slaps in the face of the grind handbook, bring this beast to a close. 'Thrown into the Sun' is the slowest song on offer, though it generally stays mid-paced despite the rampant double bass throughout. It is also the song that treads ever so lightly on the anti-grind subject of melody. Concluding track 'Black Sites' is a raucous affair with a driving rhythm and Netherton's fierce spat. Harmonized leads and interesting drum fills add more to this track than on any other previous song, but it is similar to 'Sensory Deprivation' from the Discordia LP.
So in conclusion this is another solid release and meets and/or exceeds the expectations placed upon the band from the onset. There is nothing here that should prevent old or new fans from owning this ASAP.
"In the true eyes of God, we would never be forgiven!" So begins Netherton on this journey through the belly of the monster that is modern, corporate and plastic America.
The beauty of this record is that its not about groaning, crying and worrying about the state of world. Its about opening those bug shot eyes, waking up from the sleep that the modern world has induced us into. This album urges the listener to not just stop looking at those billboards, but to tear them into shreds. "Theocracy" is about the heavy arm religion that rests on the decision makers of many countries. It blasphemes every theocratic authority that rules tyrannically over the masses. Drummer Adam Jarvis beats every lyric into the skull with his articulate and military precision blast beats and drum solos. Voyles and Kloeppel don't just churn out furious riffs, but they make their guitars scream out against the gross injustices against humanity. All in the meanwhile,vocalist and bassist Jason Netherton spits out all the disgust at the slave parade that the aristocrats and corporate big wigs seem to run. This is no more evident than in the title track "Traitors".
In its trademark style of massive riffs, blistering drum solos as well as larynx shredding vocals. the band studies, judges and destroys every social injustice that is evident in everyday life, while itself asserting the need to live not like sheep following a shepherd, but as wolves, guarding one's own domain and making decisons that are based on rational thought. Through "Ghosts of Catalonia", "Occupation" as well as "Ruling Class Cancelled", Netherton invokes the spirit of Enlightenment that was prevalent in the 18th century Europe. In every syllable, the frontman decries the abyss that we have led ourselves into. The band insists that we shake up our complacency and to begin a revolt against the ruling class that dominate us all.
Setting his sights primarily on corporate America in "American Idolatry" Netherton describes the fake, plastic people who entertain and are considered by millions as their idols. He ridicules society's narrow views on morality, growling "the joke is on us all!", mocking the culture that people have accepted.
With tracks "Thrown Into The Sun" and "Black Sites" Misery Index continues its onslaught, questioning everything and displaying its frustration at finding no answers as to where we have gone wrong. None of the members are unrelenting at any moment throughout the album. They work very hard to deliver a power punch at the face of not just the controllers, but to the listener too.
All in all, Traitors is a stellar offering by a very mature group of musicians, who actually have a lot of things to say about. Things that matter. Things that need to be done right, at the same time, maintaining the brutality that the band's music is associated to/
Death/grind must surely be a difficult scene to make any kind of impression in these days given the mass of bands jostling for space in an exceptionally crowded market. Most of them seem to be signed to Relapse Records, and North American in origin with favour leant towards the politically charged lyrics, a large target aimed at by many it seems during these now dwindling Bush years. Here then is Maryland residents Misery Index, with their scathing third full-length, "Traitors", seen taking potshots at the American system and it's morally suspect administration, out now on Relapse Records.
Misery Index were formed by ex-members (that being most of North America) of working class DM heroes Dying Fetus, and boy does it tell. First song proper "Theocracy" is rich in it's Dying Fetus influence, altering speed and means of riffs frequently, all based around a key riff or two for the song but never verging into the territory of the overtly technical. Misery Index's grind element is brought to the fore through a combination of punk glorification ("The Arbiter" and "Theocracy") and passages of speedfreak blast worship ("Ruling Class Cancelled"). Like the Fetus, MI utilise a two-pronged vocal attack with Jason Netherton and Mark Kloeppel alternating almost consistently, proving to be one of the features lifting this album above that of many others where one gruff gravel throated vocalist dominates all before him. It would be a lie to say MI are hugely varied in their style but they do know how to pen a slower tune when they want to: "Thrown Into The Sun" adeptly shows the band's song-writing skill, being the grindiest, and naturally slowest, song on the record.
Where there isn't the feel of Dying Fetus there is naturally that of grind's pioneers, particularly Terrorizer in the infectious attitude of "Theocracy" and "Occupation", being all about the quick efficient kill, leaving no time for flowery sentiments or unnecessary melodramatics. Essentially the stuff for any fan of precise, concise well played no frills death metal, which despite being a little too close to their forbearers for comfort, "Traitors" has proven itself after a number of listens to be immensely likable and a right solid album.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net
Review originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas
Not only have Misery Index rebounded from the slightly disappointing Discordia and returned to the full on brilliance of Retaliate, they have responded to the gauntlet thrown down by the recent Willowtip triple headed assault of Kill the Client, Phobia and Maruta as far as American grindcore in 2008 is concerned.
While one could argue Misery Index, with their Dying Fetus backbone (Jason Netherton and Sparky Boyles) , could be construed as more death metal than Kill The Client, Phobia or Maruta, the fact remains Misery Index are a grindcore band fueled by political and social themes, (vehemently so on Traitors), and their Kurt Ballou produced, power chord driven, tooth gnashing diatribes and barks certainly carry the taint of Napalm Death, Terrorizer and such.
Backed by some of the most scathing anti-government, anti-religion and anti political lyrics I’ve read (complete with inlay card littered with various relevant quotes from the likes of Thomas Paine, Nietzsche and such), Traitors amounts to an insurgent, musical coup d’etat against the current state of affair in the US. Urgent and violent but with a calculated sense of purpose, Traitors delivers 11 anthems of rebellion and tangible disgust with the current state of things. After a learning period for Discordia, not so new members Mark Kloeppel (Cast the Stone, Criminal Element) and Adam Jarvis (Criminal Element) appear to have settled into the bands mantra both musically and stylistically, and it shows with a top notch barrage of blast beats and menacing grooves.
From the opening intro “We Never Come in Peace” (with the rousing, truthful shout of “In the True Eyes of God, we will Never be Forgiven!”), through the blistering “Theocracy”, controlled vitriol of “Partisans of Grief” (featuring The Red Chord’s Guy Kozowyk), furious title track, blood pumping, “Occupation”, punchy standout “The Arbiter”, “Ruling Class Cancelled” (featuring Tomas Lindberg) to menacing, mid paced “Thrown Into the Sun”, Traitors attacks with the relentless tenacity and quick strike ferocity of an African Honey Badger. And with that grindcore’s savagery, comes the added depth, pacing and longer songs of death metal, making for a complete extreme metal experience that will leave you battered, bruised and ready to rise against all authority.
Misery Index got its start in 2001 when the rhythm section from Dying Fetus, namely Jason Netherton and Kevin Talley formed the band. By the time of their debut full length in 2003, Talley had left the band but Netherton was joined by another ex-Dying Fetus man in the shape of guitarist Sparky Voyles and Retaliate and the absolutely superb Discordia in 2006 saw the band quite firmly break away from any comparisons to Dying Fetus.
2008 sees the band release its third and much anticipated album Traitors and I have to say this is the bands best by a long way. Everything the band has done prior to Traitors now seems like the previews before the main movie starts. The album starts with the instrumental opening of We Never Come in Peace and the groovy dynamics of the song pretty much set the tone for what’s in store. This is Misery Index at their best. The songs are a mix of death metal, grindcore, thrash and punk and come across like Napalm Death’s Diatribes but with fatter grooves and more memorable songs.
The songwriting has matured since Discordia and while the band used to build a wall of noise and had the claustrophobic intensity going, now they actually take the time to slow things down and let the music breathe. The grooves are fat and thick and memorable. There’s a sense of melody that comes to the forefront occasionally and the guitar leads have now become a lot better integrated with the music. Stand out tracks include the superb title song with its memorable vocal line and grooves that will send a moshpit to a bloody frenzy, the superb Ghosts of Catalonia with its changes in pace, melody and guitar solo and Occupation which is another terrific song that mixes death metal and grind core in an absolutely stunning manner. These three songs come together in the middle of the album but Traitors is an album that is full of fantastic songs. The slowed down ending of Ruling Class Canceled is goose bump inducing while The Arbiter sounds like Napalm Death going head to head with The Exploited with the kind of breakdowns that the entire metal-core scene would give their nuts for.
Traitors sees the band at its best. If you thought Retaliate and Discordia were great albums (and they are) then Traitors will probably rip your head off. This is a band that is at the top of its game right now and Traitors is a contender for album of the year.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
Misery Index is a band that I have been following ever since a came across their Overthrow EP years back. I enjoy all of their material, especially their two previous full-lengths. Traitors is no exception, as it sees the band continuing to play groove-laden, heavy as hell, politically and socially conscious extreme metal.
Misery Index start off Traitors with the killer two minute instrumental “We Never Come in Peace”. You are forced to start headbanging as soon as the opening groove riff is introduced. They continue to play with variations of the riff before playing it again in its original state, this time with machine gun double bass. At the end of the intro vocalist/bassist Jason Netherton explodes into the mix with his proclamation “In the true eyes of God we will never be forgiven”. That’s his way of welcoming you to Traitors.
The band wastes no time introducing the listener to the raging “Theocracy”. Chaotic, blindingly fast, and heavier than an oil tanker, “Theocracy” is prime example of Misery Index’s crushing attack. This track features a little taste of everything this album has to offer. Drummer Adam Jarvis attracts your attention almost immediately with his complex fills and vicious blasting style. Equally potent are the guitars, spewing out chunky chords and death metal riffs left and right. Misery Index then introduce a melancholic melody towards the end of the track which evolves into a solo over a blasting rhythm section. The remainder of the song sees the band let up on the gas momentarily to crush you with their signature groove sections.
The next song “Partisans of Grief” features guest vocals from Guy of The Red Chord. The song is played for the most part at a slower tempo, letting the grove element and some black metal style chords make up the majority of the band’s attack. Guy returns on the next track, the title track, to lend his vocals to the mix.
Most of the songs on this album follow the same style of a fast paced, aggressive attack. Two songs, “Ghosts of Catalonia” and “Thrown Into the Sun” see Misery Index slowing down the tempo while increasing the atmosphere of the album. A previous review made a reference to the latter being very influenced by the mighty Morbid Angel, and I can’t agree more. The chord progressions and riffs, both slow and fast, bring to mind Trey Azagthoth while the double bass heavy drum parts sound like something Pete Sandoval would play.
Another standout track is the two-minute inferno known as “Ruling Class Cancelled”. This song first appeared on a split EP earlier this year and has been rerecorded for Traitors. This song rages along at full speed for most of the track, sporting endless blasts, double bass, and death metal riffs. This track also features the distinct vocals of Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates fame.
Misery Index have delivered another very enjoyable album in Traitors. This cd might not have the most varied material to come out this year, but Misery Index are awesome at what they do. If you have heard any of their previous material you know exactly what to expect with Traitors. Misery Index know how to create quality songs and after 3 full – lengths and many EPs they show that they are only getting better with age and experience.
At last! Some decent brutal music for my poor tortured ears! I thought I was doomed to listen to shitty releases for the rest of my life! MISERY INDEX appeased me with their brand new album "Traitors" showing me that there are bands in Relapse that can still maintain their sound. So, it all started in the year 2001...
During that time, Netherton, Voyles and Kevin Talley left DYING FETUS and formed the Deathcore mass murdering vehicle known as MISERY INDEX. The band managed to make its name known from its first day of existence and has offered some more than great albums to the extreme Metal scene. With a dozen of releases already out there, MISERY INDEX are here for one more time showing that they can still kick ass with ease. For those about to Grind, we salute you!
I remember how I felt when I first came in touch with this band’s music. The song "Pulling Out The Nails" from their debut EP is still a part of my daily playlist. The fact is that Relapse has started making its bands more modern and I was afraid something like this would happen to MISERY INDEX, too. Thank god, these guys are still fierce beasts and there is probably nothing that can soften them.
"Traitors" is a heavy as fuck album with everything a MISERY INDEX and a Grind/Death/Deathcore fan in general may ask. From the catchy and groovy Death/Hardcore opening intro to the 100% MORBID ANGEL influenced "Thrown Into The Sun", the band knows how to deliver some pure brutality enriched with some distinctive modern touches. After all, that’s why we love MISERY INDEX in the first place!
"Traitors" is an album that whether you will buy or you will just die trying to run away from it. Fierce brutality, extreme violence and sickness are only a few of the elements that make this album a kick ass release. Definitely the best album I have heard the last few months.
Originally written for Metal-Temple.Com
This is, by far, the best Misery Index to date. It's very hard to keep outdoing what you did on a previous cd. Discordia is one hell of an album and to completely blow it out of the water, is just something I never thought would happen.
The album starts off with a brutal ass introduction. This two minute instrumental song is probably the catchiest and heaviest intro I have ever heard on an album. That is what makes this album so fucking incredible. Every song on this cd is extremely catchy and extremely heavy. Something that will play in your head throughout the day.
After the intro, it just gets brutal and I mean beyond brutal. Every song sounds completely different from one another and it's just great to listen to an album that doesn't repeat itself. Songs like Partisans Of Grief, The Arbiter, and Occupation makes me wish I was seeing Misery Index live because of how brutal these songs are. Great pitting songs.
All in all, this album is a MUST. Everything is perfect on it. Mark and Jason deliver some BRUTAL lyrics and Adam is probably one of the fastest and talented drummers in all of metal. If you want to listen to the perfect album, pick this one up.
Song recommendations: "We Never Come In Peace", "Theocracy", "Occupation", "Thrown into the Sun", and "The Arbiter"