Misery Index

Heirs To Thievery

Written by: AP on 08/09/2010 14:46:56

Over the years, one death metal band that has consistently maintained my interest has been Misery Index. The band shows no shame in exploiting modern mixing and mastering techniques to achieve a rich and diverse soundscape, ripe with compelling riffs, soaring melodies and polyrhythms, never becoming too self-indulgent in its ventures into the unknown. Fans of Dying Fetus, Napalm Death and Hatebreed alike will find elements close to their heart on this fourth album, "Heirs to Thievery", arguably the finest, and certainly the most accessible album that Misery Index has put out so far.

As one might expect from a band whose name is derived from a particularly depressing economic indicator, the lyrical subject matter is radically left-wing, often coinciding with anarchic aesthetics and focusing on the ills of modern society. Not that such depth is the first thing to strike out from Misery Index's music - the lyrics are, after all, roared out in the indecipherable two-pronged growls of main men Mark Kloeppel and Jason Netherton. But where sticking to one form of vocalisation often results in rather monotonous expression, the amount of intrigue inspired by the ever-changing soundscape here renders the listener oblivious to such minor threats.

The music is technical, but not overtly so, as songs like "Fed to the Wolves" and "The Carrion Call" demonstrate. Following some gasp-inducing lead stunts and maelstroms of noise, guitarists Sparky Voyles and Mark Kloeppel - who also handles vocal duties together with bassist Jason Netherton - lay down thick, punishing verses with strong metallic hardcore influences (hence the reference to Hatebreed), which then unfold into breathtaking instrumental bridges and solos such as those found in the title track, or ringing melodies like in the introduction to "The Spectator". The grind element (hence the reference to Napalm Death) is brought to the fore in the blastbeat driven speed explosions that comprise "You Lose", "Sleeping Giants" and "Day of the Dead", but in such a refined manner that the band's death metal core is never forgotten. The equally hasty, but somewhat more complex compositions "The Illuminaught" and "Plague of Objects" are where the band are at their finest though, in which the band is able to flash their taste for progressive songwriting.

But although sufficient song-to-song structural variation exists in "Heirs to Thievery", it would be a lie to say that Misery Index are a hugely diverse band, sound-wise. The album leaves little time for emotive sentiments amidst its overbearing brutality, with "The Seventh Cavalry" providing most of the scarce reflective moments during its brooding 4:44 minutes of contemplative slowness. Then again, with an album vowing to wage all out war on the system, who needs emotion?

8

Download: Fed to the Wolves, Heirs to Thievery, The Illuminaught, The Seventh Cavalry, You Lose
For the fans of: Aborted, Dying Fetus, Napalm Death, Suffocation
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.05.2010
Relapse Records

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