For Fans Of
Yes, I’m aware that this reviews
headline is a bold statement. After all, handing out album of the year
honours in July might be seen by some readers as jumping the gun somewhat,
but you know what, it’s going to take something special to knock off Controller as the best release of 2008 (Glassjaw I’m looking in
your direction), so I’m standing by my declaration.
A lot of Misery Signals fans weren’t too enthused with the group’s last effort (Mirrors,
which I for one thought was great), so how did the five-piece respond?
They recruited production mastermind Devin Townsend – yep, the man responsible for the punishing sounds that were found
on the band’s debut full length – and wrote some of the most technically
impressive, yet instantly accessible metal that this reviewer has heard
since… well, the first time I stumbled across Misery Signals!
The moment “Nothing” comes
spewing out of your speakers you’ll be flawed by the precision drum
work and intricate riffing that have become an integral part of the Misery Signals sound. Throughout a flurry of creative drum fills
the song still manages to maintain a steady beat, all the while Stuart
Ross and Kyle Morgan are giving us mere mortals a lesson
in fret board theatrics. Many a long-term MS fan seems to have
some kind of attachment to the group’s original singer, and as such,
they haven’t fully embraced Karl Schubach as a front man. I’m going to put it out there… Karl is a
far superior vocalist! His voice has a massive bottom end yet still
retains a clarity that makes every one of his lyrics audible and most
“Weight Of The World” could
be the most straight forward tune the band has committed to tape, that
is until its foot to the floor tempo makes way for a hook laden chorus
and a Meshuggah worthy breakdown. The melody driven “Labyrinthian”
shows just how diverse the band’s sound is, melding complex drum patterns
with effects laden guitar work, all of which culminates in one of the
record’s crushing moments.
strike that perfect balance between heaviness and ambience, the latter
utilizing the percussive talents of Ryan and Branden Morgan’s
(drums) father. “A Certain Death” chops and changes between upbeat
verses and groove heavy metal riffs, an unlikely pairing in anyone else’s
language, however Misery Signals seem to excel at coupling polar opposites together. It should also be
noted that the clean vocals that appear in the song are courtesy of Karl himself, stunning that someone who can deliver such unrelenting
screams is capable of carrying a user-friendly tune.
Song of the record (and of the
year) goes to “Set In Motion”. Apart from the fact that the music
is second to none the commanding vocal-chant of “burn it to the fucking ground” simply cannot be ignored. The rhythmic
heaviness of “Ebb And Flow” is complimented by another clean vocal
passage, while the plethora of time changes and guitar parts offered
up in “Reset” should keep even the most cynical metal fan happy.
Rounding out Controller is “Homecoming”, a song that is as
epic as anything else the band has penned in their career.
Great record. Great band. Enough said.
- Weight Of The World
- A Certain Death
- Set In Motion
- Ebb And Flow