Stockholm’s Mister Misery look a little bit like they were pressed from the Wednesday 13 / Marilyn Manson mould, and their sound straddles both of these artists’. Definitely metal, definitely with a horror edge, but with a knack for a catchy rhythm, Unalive is their debut album and it’s a promising one.
According to the press release, the band’s members have been through a lot and their means of catharsis is to detail their life experiences (couched in vampiric visuals) in terms of songs. They do say that you should write what you know and Mister Misery have taken this opportunity to collect together ten sessions on the psychiatrist’s couch. They bill themselves as melodic hardrock / gothic glam (I’ve not heard the latter before and it’s a novel description) though they’re not afraid to add their own flavouring.
The most interesting track on Unalive is actually the opener. “The Blood Waltz” does indeed use a waltz melody as a base to its metallic top layer. This one’s just crying out for a video – so it’s a good job they’ve already done one! It’s also the perfect introduction to the band and album as a whole. Lyrics such as “Would you lick the blood from my arms?” conjure up the sort of imagery the band are after, and you can’t help but feel that if they were a bit more poppy people would be branding them as emo.
That’s not to say that they can’t whip up something more upbeat (in terms of music and tempo, at least). “You And I” and the excellent “Rebels Calling” are designed to raise pulses, voices and fists. The latter is the obligatory “we’re different and fuck you” song, and it’s a good one. A simple beat for the chorus just encourages singing along while punching the air. This one’s going to go down well live.
If there’s a song on Unalive that’s better, then it’s “Stronger”. Somehow managing to sound like the theme song from a classic horror film mutated into a headbanging rock track, it absolutely nails the band and what they’re about. A solid, marching rhythm which really catches the ear.
Unalive is crammed with great guitar work and solid rhythms. The vocals are tight (main and backing), and the crossover between fantasy lyrics/imagery and real-life ones is a clever twist. For a debut album, this is an impressive and strong outing.
Unalive is out on October 4th