I am not going to sit here and tell you I know much about Misery Index. I have known the band for more than a decade and listened to them here and there but nothing substantial. Often categorized as Brutal Death Metal or Grindcore, they have been at the forefront of the genre and have been touring with the biggest associated acts. I was expecting something along the lines of the last few albums, but this new opus ‘Complete Control’ is beyond surprising and unexpected.
The album starts off with ‘’Administer the Dagger’’, it has a drawn-out intro reminiscent of Post Metal giants like Isis, Neurosis or The Ocean. Misery Index create an unusual and impressive blend of styles that sets them apart from just about any Death Metal band out there. This song is all about, sounding raw and natural but incredibly well defined. The crushingly heavy, yet somehow steady pace of their riffs evokes a phenomenal mixture of energy and strength that makes the music sound very well structured and solid but also volatile enough to allow powerful contrasts and changes in movement to occur. I was not expecting this from them, yet they channel their Death Metal origins after this sequence.
The album has that sense of cohesion and continuity that it gets when listened to as a whole. The songs are clearly separated but each song somehow seems to pick up on the aftertaste of the previous one and then start shifting that mood into a subsequent phase. This gradual evolutionary pattern is what makes the album keep you engaged and focused from beginning to end and prevents any sense of monotony to sink in, even though this sort of music actually presents a high risk of that happening. They are very diverse and versatile musicians and that allows them to stay intense for 33 minutes but to always hit you with something fresh and exciting.
My standout track is ‘’Necessary Suffering’’. This song reminded me of the Thrash Metal revival started by bands like Municipal Waste, Warbringer, amongst countless others. It’s the first song I listened on the album because my phone was on random for this album so this song stuck with me. It shows the listener that they can branch out and rival the new wave of Thrash Metal yet with some of their trademark Death Metal sound.
No song is alike so that’s something that you find that often in Death Metal, you usually get a string of songs that differ only the slightest. They range from Technical Death Metal, New Wave of Thrash Metal, Post-Metal by the way of Old School Death Metal. The influences are many and each song defies the listener to wonder what’s coming next. I like an album that challenges me, and this album was an all-out attack on the senses.
I was expecting something extremely violent, uncoordinated, and bland but Misery Index reached down in their bag of tricks and showed how versatile the band can really be. When you listen to something without any real expectation, that’s where it really catches you off-guard. I took this album because I know the band and their reputation and they are often in concert here in Montreal, one of their favorite cities. By all accounts the band has matured in a way I was not expecting at all and just really grown as musicians.
The production quality is top notch, so it makes the instruments and vocals better heard altogether. I like a lot of the riffs that they show on here, they’re totally kick ass and fast. The writing is definitely versatile and unique. I like how they constructed their songs and made them way unique and all-encompassing. The music is what takes precedence over everything, though like I said, the vocals are the most changed and best compliment to the music. The quality of the sound makes this a lot better and well done! This album by far is their most noteworthy compilation of songs to this date.
The real genius behind this album, however, is its ability to step away from the mass execution of common customs and present something that is more stylistically intricate, all but to the point of challenging the conventions of this band’s adoptive movement. They can show the world another side of the band, something that blew my mind and will surprise a lot of their fanbase…
Overall, ‘Complete Control’ surpassed my expectations. After their last two albums, I was curious to see which direction they would go in and I am extremely pleased they went in a less streamline way. Certainly, an album that will be in heavy rotation for years to come and is one of the best modern Death Metal albums of the last decade or so.