Misery Signals

support The Number 12 Looks Like You + Your Demise
author BL date 20/09/09 venue Joiners, Southampton, UK

It's the start of a new season for all round after the summer, but especially for a new wave of bands hitting dates across the UK this autumn and winter. Misery Signals certainly is a great way to start the pack and having consistently put out great progressive metalcore albums, was a name I was interested in seeing for quite some time. We had arrived slightly early before doors to catch the headlining band for an interview, although due to this being their first UK date they were understandably a little busy at first sorting out everything to make sure this was a first date to remember. Also on the bill were New Jersy based UK-newcomers The Number 12 Looks Like You and UK hardcore band Your Demise, the latter of which I was more familiar with given that I reviewed their last full length (here).

By the time I finished my interview I was just in time to catch the end of the first local support band and the whole set for the second, though unfortunately while I forgot the first band's name, the second didn't even bother mentioning it (for some odd reason), and even Karl from Misery Signals admitted he could not remember their names either in rather amusing fashion when asking the crowd to show support. Nonetheless the proceedings didn't really get underway (at least for me) till the main support were starting anyway.

The Number 12 Looks Like You

My knowledge of this band was limited to 2 things: 1. A name borrowed from The Twilight Zone. 2. Supposedly random-ey, all-over-the-place instrumentals covering math/grindcore and jazz. Suffice to say after a fairly well timed set, I don't think I really learned anything new. Not to say the band did not perform well, they were entertaining as hell and very fun to watch for someone who hadn't heard a single one of their songs in its entirety. Vocalist Jesse "Jase" Korman seemed to enjoy that this was the first time the band was in the UK and in between songs managed to engage with the crowd in occasionally bizarre (asking them to do his dance) occasionally chit-chat-like manner. As a vocalist though he's quite remarkable to watch - he would switch from spastic screaming, to death growls, to clean vocals, back to screaming on the fly like some deranged lunatic - even more so when he would often stare at the ceiling with an expression like one. Combined with the rather shred-my-face-off music literally would made me stand there with a confounded expression as to what the hell is occurring. Similarly amusing was guitarist Alexis Pareja who for the whole set, would play some of the most beautiful jazz guitar one minute, then suddenly bring out dissonant barrages of fast rhythm guitar to lead guitar runs the next. He would have his eyes closed half the time and have the expression he was making art (or something else) and I was unsure whether to be impressed by his sheer technical ability to make it all look so effortless or annoyed that he would be occasionally overindulgent in showing off how much better than me...ahem I mean how good a guitarist he is. The drums from Jon Karel wasn't quite as over the top as the guitars but did have matching technical prowess in delivering various patterns between shifting time signatures, and the bassist Chris Russell while doing some good chops was rather pedestrian in comparison. Take no more away though because I liked what I saw, and so did most of the crowd by the warm reception and even the demand for more once they finished.

Your Demise

You could almost say that if the last act was unpredictable in that it was hard to know what was coming next, this band would probably be quite the opposite. This kind of hardcore punk influenced metalcore while done well is enjoyable, often gets criticised for being too one sided and too focused on chugging the hell out of an instrument designed with 6 not 3 strings. Which is why to the credit of the band, Your Demise managed to put on a set full of energy and enthusiasm and used that to match the brain-hurt I had just received prior to them. They had recently kicked out ex-vocalist George Noble, according to Wikipedia because he was "being a racist prick" and had replaced him with former Centurion vocalist Ed McRae. While a direct comparison between the 2 can't be drawn since I have not seen them with George (or just them) before, I can certainly say that the new guy did a good job. His screaming and growls were every bit as convincing as that on that record and he would move around the stage bouncing all over showing some fiery aggression needed to make this sort of music seem worthwhile. While the drum and bass on the album did not make it to the live stage, I was still having a fairly good time going along with the crunch-tastic guitars and most of the crowd karate moshed and 2-stepped to their hearts content despite Ed complaining at one point about the people at the far back not getting involved. In the end probably not as impressive as The Number 12 were but still good for a live performance so a very respectable

7

Misery Signals

Misery Signals got to the stage to massive cheers from the crowd, and having been through 2 very competent performances I was confident the night was going to end on a high. Vocalist Karl Schubach is a sight to fear and the if it wasn't for his warming nice guy demeanor, you'd be afraid to bump into him on the street. And not only is he big in physical presence, his voice is about as thick and powerful as they get these days. Opening song "A Certain Death" got things off to a great start, with the ball rolling Karl commanded the crowd backed by the ever ear pleasing guitar wizardry from Ryan and Stu, the pair giving an exercise in Awesome Guitar 101, and Branden Morgan's phenomenal drum work and Kyle Johnson's ear crushingly deep bass support ensured you felt the full might of the band. Branden in particular was very impressive the entire night and like Alexis from #12 made his job look so simple and effortless you almost felt at ease watching him dish out these patterns one after another.

There was material covered from all 3 of Misery Signal's excellent full lengths so no fan was left in the dark and similarly anyone unfamiliar to their music would have gotten a good taste of what these guys are all about. Songs like "Reset" and "Ebb And Flow" were my highlights of the new songs from Controller and contrast the devastating heaviness with their melodic side, the incredible "The Failsafe" from Mirrors was executed to perfection from the brutally fast and complex rhythm guitar barrages to the mesmerising, ethereal clean guitars post chorus. Finally add the excellent songs "The Year Ended Summer In June" (another favourite of mine) and "A Victim, A Target" from the first album Of Malice And The Magnum Heart onto the end and you have a set simply the way I always imagined it to be, brilliant and captivating. There was plenty of onstage movement showing the guys were clearly having a good time and the rather closed nature of the venue played into the band's favour, the fan driven crowd taking whatever was put in front of them and reacted like anxious, starved animals waiting to be fed. Even if you were a newcomer it was still easy to get into.

By the end of the night everyone was exhausted and the only disappointment you could really say was a lack of an encore. I myself was left realising that we had missed the last bus and had to walk all the way home as well, but man at least it was worth it - a whole night of entertainment left with a sweet taste at the end.

8

Photos courtesy of Martin Foot

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