June 29, 2006 | , | 3

Misery Index, Discordia

Combining aspects of death, thrash, and grind with a little hardcore thrown in for good measure, Misery Index, bring more than expected to the chopping block. You’ll be hard pressed to find a band that combines the previously mentioned genres so smoothly into one cohesive force of destruction. Add to it the socially and politically charge lyrical content and you have yourself a band compromising nothing in their attempts to force feed their message to the masses.

I’ve read that there was some concern about the new face at the drum kit, but Adam Jarvis has easily proven that he can bring the grind-filled blast beats with the best of them. Add in the crushing groove from the death inspired antics from guitarists Sparky Voyles and Mark Kloeppel and you’re in for a hell of a treat.

Jason Netherton’s vocal delivery is deep and gruff mixed with mid range screams that fit the driving force of the rest of the band to a tee. He hits the deep growls perfectly in time with some hardcore flavored, moshy riffs.

Unmarked Graves
The political message starts off with news commentator sound clips drowning in a sea of industrial static and noise before a quick monstrous riff hits and all hell breaks loose. The intensity and flowing groove of the opening track is only a sign of things to come. Having not really heard much of the band’s previous material it didn’t take long for the headbanging to begin. This first track is powerful and churning with aggression.

The second track on the disc starts off with an intense blow of grind before slowing only the slightest for Netherton’s vocals to join the fray — punk attitude and all. I definitely hear a little Napalm Death in this one. Great track.

Outsourcing Jehovah
What a great title for this song’s lyrical tyrade on the state of religion. Backing vocals from guitarist Mark Kloeppel are a great touch to this one, making for a smooth dynamic from lead to backing guttural growls.

Breathing Pestilence
The old school title of this track definitely does its death metal feel justice. If this weren’t on this disc, I’d have thought it were Suffocation material. That said, however it’s hard to deny Netherton’s presence on the vocals when they kick in at about the one minute mark. The addition of a slower, more melodic portion of this song adds some nice variety and depth to the intensity that the track encompasses. Jarvis destroys the drums toward the end of this track.

Meet Reality
A pile driver of a lesson on cranking out blastbeats leads this one off before the melodic riffs and vocals kick in. The Washington DC/Baltimore based band has definitely made an impression on me at this point in the album. I’ll be adding their earlier material to my wish list. It’s a shame I didn’t get into this band earlier.

Sensory Deprivation
A sweet Napal Death inspired riff bellows from the speakers and another more melodic hook fills in what holes the first monster riff may have missed. At the 1:15 mark on the song you realize that you’ll need some IcyHot™ after this one is done to mend a sore neck. This is easily the most diverse song on the record and hands down my favorite. There’s just so much going on that I hear something new each and every time I listen to it.

The Medusa Stare
The previous track melds right into this grinding, crushing song. It’s just straight forward agression and power at a hyperquick pace. Tandom main and backing vocals work well on the slower portions of this one.

Dystopian Nightmares
The eighth track on the album has a distinct sound to it that separates it from the rest of the album. It still has its root and drums in the grind world, but has a bit more melodic death crunch to the guitars than the other tracks. The band continues to show more and more talent and, for lack of a bette word, experimentation in their sound.

The title track carries a bit of reverb from the previous song blending it in nicely with a pretty crushing, hardcore tinged riff. For the first two minutes I was left thinking that this was an instrumental. But sure enough, there’s Netherton with a much slower, and a bit softer, delivery than found on the rest of the album. Overall, it’s the slowest song on the album, but not slow enough to destroy any sense of momentum. It’s a nice respit before the fury of the final track.

After the dream like death tones of the last song, you’re ready to have your head beat in before the album ends. Pandemican is just the song to do it — brutal and uncompromising mix of death and hardcore. This will definite be on my list of favorite songs for a while.

~ ~ ~

As I stated before, I wish I had gotten into Misery Index much earlier than I have. I would like to have heard the evolution of their sound as they released it. As it stands, I’ll just make it a point to go out and pick up their earlier material. I advise you to do the same and definitely pick up this latest effort. Any fan of death metal, grind and even thrash will get more than enough out of this one to enjoy.

Favorite Tracks:
Sensory Deprivation

Additional Notes: