posted on 5/2006 By:
The first time I heard Discordia, I was pretty fucking disappointed. I’ve been following this band very closely since their debut Overthrow EP, and if you’re in my boat, you’ve come to expect great things from the ex-Dying Fetus crushers. Discordia’s reviews haven’t helped much either; most of them call it a “BLISTERING STATEMENT OF INTENT FROM ONE OF DEATH METAL’S MOST BRUTAL FORERUNNERS WHO WILL REDEFINE THE GENRE” or the like. I was headed for a letdown from the outset with this one. Perhaps it was the over-compressed guitar tone on Discordia where previous albums had some of my favorite death metal productions ever, or the absence of immediately ‘hooky’ songs like “Retaliate” or “Exception to the Ruled,” but the new Misery Index release did very little for me initially.
Given a little extra time, I’ve altered my evaluation. Discordia has grown on me and I’d easily rank it with their previous output in terms of quality, but the fact remains that Misery Index has reached a plateau. While there was a clear stylistic progression from Overthrow to Retaliate to Dissent, Discordia sees Jason Netherton and company settling into a holding pattern. Granted, it’s quite a pleasing holding pattern, as their blend of death metal, grind and crusty hardcore punk is just as potent and furious as ever. “Outsourcing Jehovah,” “Breathing Pestilence,” “Sensory Deprivation” and “Dystopian Nightmares” all achieve the same savage grandeur found in Misery Index’s best previous work, while “The Medusa Stare” and punishing closer “Pandemican” impart as much crazed adrenaline as any grind fan could ask for. The guitar work, provided by Dying Fetus alum Sparky Voyles and newcomer Mark Kloeppel, commands most of the attention here. It’s clear that Voyles and Kloeppel have been doing their homework, as their complex riffage blends a catholic range of styles, from traditional Morbid Angel-type death metal to the desperately melodic punk of His Hero Is Gone and From Ashes Rise to the title track’s grinding, doomy plod. Though there’s rarely a straightforward, openly catchy moment, the two guitarists incorporate enough subtle melody into their typically death metal riff tornado to make many of these songs stick. Meanwhile, fresh drummer Adam Jarvis is left to tend the double bass pedals abandoned by the esteemed Kevin Talley. He performs admirably, as one would expect, and his style is virtually indistinguishable from Talley’s, though it doesn’t sound like he’ll top the older skinsman any time soon.
So we’ve got infectious death metal riffs, teeth-gnashing hardcore chordage, over-the-top blasting, the occasional trudging doom track, and (of course) some earth-shaking pick-squeal-laden grooves. In other words, it’s another Misery Index album. If you approach Discordia expecting anything like progression, as I did, you might be getting yourself into trouble. If you’re not looking for much but another half-hour of quality metal from one of the death scene’s more consistently outstanding bands over the past few years, this release is for you. Somehow I doubt many of you are into death metal because of your love for progression anyway.
posted on 5/2006 By:
The new Misery Index album is impressive, to say the least. Though I enjoyed the band’s energetic performance when I last saw them, I have been consistently underwhelmed by their recorded output. Their previous full length, Retaliate, seemed dull and virtually devoid of hooks or catchy elements; metal by the numbers, if you will. Though I understand that the Assuck-inspired crust that the band plays isn’t intended to sound like Jason’s previous outfit, Dying Fetus, the overall lack of memorable material surprised and disappointed me. Since then, I’ve listened to two EPs that the band has put out, and each struck me as competent but uninspired. Since Dying Fetus' post-Netherton release, Stop At Nothing, was similarly unimpressive, it had seemed that the two splinter groups were both weak shadows of a once-excellent death metal band. Discordia has turned the above theory on its head, surprising me with its able marriage of the crust/grind style and the death metal grooves that made Destroy the Opposition-era Dying Fetus so compelling.
Discordia is an enjoyable listen primarily because Misery Index have learned how to write great riffs. The main themes found on “Dystopian Nightmares” and the title track are perfect examples of the group’s newfound ability to produce extremely memorable material. Another thing that impresses me is the fact that each track sounds unique; the thing that I like the least about grind-oriented music is the fact that the songs generally tend to run together, often forming a 30+ minute continuous assault that is, to be honest, more boring than harrowing. Though the material on this disc is hardly progressive, it is certainly intricate.
As is to be expected, the musicianship on display is well above average. The drumming is crisp and precise, while the guitarists display a level of technical prowess that is rare among crust bands. Add Jason Netherton’s always impassioned vocal performance into the mix and you have an overall excellent execution. The production is tad thin by death metal standards, yet far more polished than the average crust release. Though I’m all for lo-fi production when it comes to genres like crust and black metal, the fairly clean and lucid production on this disc fits the material just as well. No major complaints in the musicianship and production departments.
Misery Index have risen in my estimation, having produced what is one of the better metal discs of 2006. If you’re a fan of the band, I imagine that you’ll enjoy this release, and if you weren’t especially amazed by their earlier work, it’s time to give them another chance. With this release, Misery Index have shown themselves to be a worthy band in their own right, and I eagerly await the current incarnation of Fetus to prove themselves the same.
Register to post comments.
Heirs To Thievery
5/11/2010 Misery Index
10/25/2004 Misery Index