The Mirroring Shadow
posted on 11/2009 By:
Miseration are a band that know what they are doing and what they are going for. With any luck they will be free of the tag that labels them as another one of Christian Älvestam's billion side projects and realized as the Swedish death metal force that they have officially deserved the minute The Mirroring Shadow was complete.
Having successfully launched themselves in the orbit of the old school death metal bands from the same part of the world, Miseration follow a similar pattern to bands like Bloodbath; producing a modern take on a brutal tradition, with a crisp sound that is not afraid to wrangle a tune or two into their riffs. Stripping out anything from 2007's Your Demons – Their Angels that didn't have the complete and utter intention of putting them in that position, melodic parts have been streamlined into dynamic overtones that poke through the destructive undercurrent, giving no control over the musical direction.
Älvestam's clean vocals have been left on the sideline, a move that is just as bold as it is correct, helping to drop any obvious comparisons that seemed inevitable. His growls are gutterly monstrous though, and keep the sound focused and honest. Most of the development for this record comes from a truly exciting riff style that has more in common with perhaps Älvestam's most underrated project Torchbearer, but with the more subtle approach to melody. Many of the guitar's cleverer licks and intricacies go unnoticed if you attempt to take in all in one gulp, but tracks like “Dimorphic” and “Voyaging the Seas of Thought” have some truly grade-A death metal riffs, from chunky chord chops to those bone-spraining tremolo phrases that have felt confusingly unique to this band since the beginning.
Whilst The Mirroring Shadow may be more consistently aggressive than its predecessor, the intensity retained from start to finish is not at all dictated by tempo. In fact, Miseration's effect is strongest in those towering, steam-powered, fortresses like “Imago 2.0” and “The Mirroring Shadow”. With piston-like choruses that churn on over the rails of a paced double kick and the sprayed expulsions of demonic guitar progressions, these slower (note: slow-er) tracks have the breathing space to expand an atmosphere of dread and fury that is addictive, consuming and a fairly explicit depiction of what the word “miseration” might represent.
Miseration have just moved in; and that is to say they are going to be right up a lot of people's street from now on and it's great to see a band who can recognise their strengths and goals, then just get their act together for their second album. It's almost as great as not having to mention Scar Symmetry for an entire review.
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