Misery Signals "Mirrors" CDPosted on Thursday, September 14th, 2006 @ 9:36am » permalink
Misery Signals' absolutely incredible debut full-length, "Of Malice and the Magnum Heart", is without a doubt one of the best metalcore albums of all time (absolutely check it out if you haven't already), and is easily one of the only contemporary metalcore records that I've listened to fairly regularly since its release. Therefore, I was extremely psyched when their latest, "Mirrors" (once more from Ferret Music), showed up in the mail unannounced.
This is the band's first recorded output with new frontman Karl Schubach, and under normal circumstances I'd have been at least mildly apprehensive about such a lineup shift, but I never really thought twice about it in this case – most likely due to the fact that it's the music that's so incredible with this outfit. Not that the vocals were ever lacking, as that's far from accurate, but with music so dynamic and intricate, the vocals are almost always going to be a secondary concern. And sure enough, the change is practically unnoticeable, as Schubach sounds almost identical to former vocalist Jesse Zaraska to my ears, and the musical backdrop over which he works is along the same emotionally wrenching lines as before – combining straightforward, chugging heaviness with impressively technical riffing that displays one hell of a knack for intense melodies and uniquely dissonant dual guitar interactions.
The songwriting as a whole feels somewhat more "straightforward" on this effort, at least in the sense that there's a more direct flow between all of the different riffs and the way that various passages piece together within the context of any given song. It's still a very complex album, however, so there are lots of oddball rhythmic attributes and plenty of fucked up layering going on between the instruments. You can tell they've put a lot of effort into the writing to strike a balance between utilizing so many different dynamics and changes. Of course, on the other hand, the lyrics are a little more typical this time out, and some of the guitar effects employed during a few scattered clean passages or lushly droning areas border on being kind of generic in that way too many bands are starting to explore that whole area as of late. And I also find the layout to be somewhat uninteresting. I can't quite pin it down, but I think it just boils down to finding the full-page facial photographs in the booklet to be annoying. I don't know…
But such points are certainly minor. I don't want to give off the wrong impression. While it's true that I don't find this album to be as strong as "Of Malice and the Magnum Heart" (not that it would be a realistic task to top such an epic masterpiece), it's still an awesome record, and one that's not very far removed from said magnum opus (no pun intended). I mean, Misery Signals is pretty much going to be among the absolute best of the best for as long as they continue. The sheer quality and creativity of their riffs and the force held by their resulting songwriting simply puts to shame the vast majority of the metalcore genre in its current form. I certainly have the utmost respect for these guys, and will always be excited to hear new material from the band. Always.
Downloading is total bullshit, so buy this record, by all means purchase "Of Malice and the Magnum Heart" if you don't already own it (and you should), and spread the damn word: