I will be completely honest with you here. Misery Index are a band that I have not paid as much attention to as I should have and I will definitely be looking at this from the outside in. I think one reason for this is their earlier output having a lot more grind influences throughout their early career, where I am more death metal in taste. I have obviously heard their songs over the years but after listening to this album, I will be damn sure to pick up their back catalogue once again and pay that attention that they rightly deserve. I hope this review of Rituals of Power will get you to the same place, as this album should enhance their already strong reputation in the extreme metal scene.
The first song that grabbed my attention was the second track with its hardcore riffs backed by blast beats from drummer Adam who also plies his trade in Pig Destroyer. This is as tight a song as you can get with some band members being active in extreme metal for thirty years now. The sound and production even this early on in the album is stellar, with each instrument being clearly heard bringing hardcore and death metal together. As I have mentioned in other reviews, I love nothing more in a band than having dual vocalists and this track is a perfect representation of that with bassist and founder Jason and guitarist Mark sharing vocal duties.
Hardcore riffs from guitarists Mark and Darin are prevalent throughout this record and mix it up nicely with death metal and grinding riffs. You could say the album is full of this but I really like how its structured and placed together in tracks like “The Choir Invisible”. I really like the hardcore feel within the chorus and yes, OK, I may have chanted along with the chorus. Lead guitarist Darin really gets to show off his leads in tracks like “Salem” where he tears his guitar a new one during the all out thrash section of the song. These are all incredibly tight musicians playing extremely technical songs with precision and by God, do they sound good.
Misery Index are not all about speed and when they do slow things down the song is face melting. “Hammering the Nails” is neck breaking and it’s as if the band are giving you a break from the ferocity of the album yet still forcing you to go apeshit. Power rather than speed again is prevalent throughout the title track with its hardcore edge and stomping attitude. This track made me start a circle pit in my own living room and will certainly be a crowd-pleaser in the live environment.
It’s the end of the album though that grabs me by the balls the most. “I Disavow” with its death metal riffs and blast beats is a most welcome return to the speed element and the old school Misery Index fans. The song is beautifully constructed with the mid section slowing down but not losing any of its intensity and power before returning to the speed element. This will certainly be one that again will be best played in the live environment. Along with closer “Naysayer” again starting off with relentless blast beats from Adam, it follows the similar style of fast-slow-fast as its predecessor but more of the grinding element and certainly was a fitting way to end the album.
Rituals of Power is certainly the strongest and most consistent album I have heard so far this year and it will further cement Misery Index in the minefield of the extreme metal scene. This album will allow Misery index to tour the world yet again and garner their already solid reputation as one of the strongest and tightest live acts that you will see. With Rituals of Power, I am certainly looking forward to seeing this album being played in the live environment. Going back to my original statement, Misery Index will be playing in my death deck for some time yet and I urge you all to do the same.
Header image by Josh Sisk
Rituals of Power is out now