I was surprised by the fact that I wasn’t super excited when I saw that Misery Index had released a new album. I told myself that it was time to stop procrastinating and get the album about two months after its release. I guess I had a weird hunch that the band had fucked everything up and that it would ruin it for me if I heard the album. Before the album was finished, I started asking myself “why the hell did you think that?” In other words, this album is a solid slab of grinding brutality and that Misery Index really meant what they said after the Traitors release: they have no plans of EVER slowing down. For those of you that want a quick factual summary of the sound, Misery Index took the sound from Traitors and put back some of the grinding brutality from the Retaliate/Discordia days.
But Traitors had a lot of new melodic elements, unfamiliar in Misery Index territory. Now, it seems that the band liked the sound of Traitors and decided to make the small melodic elements part of their overall sound which, to be honest, wasn’t a bad idea at all. In songs like The Carrion Call, I can hear some Dying Fetus-style breakdowns with a lot of groove. Although there aren’t breakdowns this pronounced in every single track, the existing ones substantially affected the general sound of the record in its entirety. I can see how doing this could have easily ruined the music, but I think that Misery Index realized that these kind of breakdowns would fit in PERFECTLY with their sound. But not only that, there’s a lot more grindcore in their music.
Some people were a bit disappointed by Traitors because it didn’t have quite as much blast beat drumming as they wanted. But now, the band has brought the grinding blast beats from Discordia to dust off the cobwebs and let them shine once again. Although I’ve heard much crisper and tighter blast beats from bands like Dying Fetus and Exhumed, these blast beats are some of the heaviest and most bombarding I’ve ever heard. The drummer branches out and decides to play more chaotic fills during pauses in the music. The unfortunate thing about that is that he does somewhat of a sloppy job on those fills, which are easily noticeable. I like the simpler and much tighter fills that he did in Traitors much better. But then again, he didn’t TOTALLY fail at the more chaotic fills, he was just sloppy. The drumming is fantastic, but the bass has decreased in complexity and creativity. The bassist went from playing a much more complex set of lines to just simply following the drum patterns.
The vocals in this album aren’t necessarily better than Traitors, but they’re definitely more powerful. The seemingly belted-out growls on Heirs to Thievery are the other reason besides the drumming that this album sounds so much heavier than Traitors. Contrary to Traitors, the vocalist has more variety in what he does; which includes frequently placing screams on top of growls, which doesn’t sound half bad. His growls aren’t quite as deep as I would like them to be, which is primarily because he’s putting a lot more force and energy into them. I love how there’s more power, but I liked them more when they were deeper.
It’s starting to look like Misery Index is only further solidifying their place amongst the greatest death grind legends ever. Although I wouldn’t consider them the best out of that particular group, I would certainly consider Misery Index to be one of the best the genre has to offer. I would give this album 13/20.