Church Of Misery
Houses Of The Unholy
posted on 7/2009 By:
If there’s one metaphor that the metal press has belabored to death, it’s the horror movie parallel—every low-rent, low-concept extreme metal album from Horrified to The Harvest Floor is at risk of a slasher-flick comparison. However, like most clichés, the horror movie parallel is founded on a truism, and Church of Misery are filth-drenched exemplars of that truism. With their third album, these Japanese doomsters bear down on you like a House, M.D. episode with a machete—unapologetically formulaic, but messily fun anyhow.
If you’re already into Church of Misery, then you don’t need to know much beyond the fact that Houses of the Unholy is a faintly-cleaner take on what they’ve been doing since Master of Brutality. If you’re unfamiliar with this mob, you should know that they have learned how to do exactly one thing very, very well. Like all of their previous works, Houses of the Unholy devotes a song apiece to seven famous serial killers, plus a cover of Sir Lord Baltimore’s “Master Heartache” that is rendered virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the album by the band’s heavy-handed treatment. In each case, a grainy sample introduces the bloody deeds of the maniac in question before Church of Misery launches into swinging, iron-clad stoner doom tunes a la Electric Wizard and Bongzilla. These guys have heft to spare, but also possess a propensity for ass-shimmying groove and guitar heroism that harkens to early Sabbath and introduces an uncomfortable element of sexuality to the tunes—perfect for songs about violent pervs.
The tempo varies from track to track—Church of Misery lumber on “El Padrino” and…well, boogie on “Shotgun Boogie,” while “Born to Raise Hell” sees them lope along at a greasy middling tempo. The overall feel however, is homogeneous throughout Houses of the Unholy. This is rollicking summer music for sociopaths or at least for people who think that dudes who flip out and shoot up the local McDonald’s make for good movies—simple, headbangable, brains-free fun.
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