Misery Index is hailed as one act that's been regarded as a somewhat fusion between the death metal and grindcore genres. Formed in the very early 2000s in Baltimore, Maryland as a three-piece outfit (now a four member band), the death metallers have released, thus far, six total full lengths in addition to numerous EPs and splits, with their inspiration being drawn from the aforementioned deathgrind combination, the subtle hardcore punk vibes, and some of the works of Assuck, an oldschool Florida-based grind band that's even had one album named Misery Index. Nevertheless, the Maryland metalheads are at it yet again with their latest album. Let's see what it has to offer!
This new full length venture, having been released just last week via Season of Mist Records and serving as the band's sixth fleshed out album outing since its inception, is titled Rituals of Power. Its themes focus on the artists' usual lyricism revolving around politics, societal imbalances and power struggles; however, much of the album's 36 minute running time (making up nine songs in total) musically focuses on a slightly different and more structured death metal formula as opposed to their previous works, which is a notion that will be touched on later in this review. Oddly enough, Rituals of Power was mixed & mastered by Will Putney himself, making it a rather interesting collaboration, to say the least.
While this release has a general mature, oldschool death metal kind of sound in many ways, with the guitar solos on every track and gruff vocals, there are still some other brutal factors to be found on here. Certain songs like the self-titled track and 'Decline and Fall' offer up a more structured quality while others such as 'They Always Come Back' as well as 'Naysayer' emphasize more of a grindy vibe. There were only one or two songs in all that I didn't exactly care for, one namely being the intro track. The blast beats and mids on here are all too familiar (take that for what you will), but the riffs are pretty varied for the most part. The latter half of this record showcases much of the band's signature sound and unpredictable nature, giving off a more interesting aesthetic that pulled me in. First few songs are hit or miss, but 'Decline and Fall' is one of my personal faves for its fast pacing, late game guitar solo and relentless chugs towards its outro. 'They Always Come Back' is another very strong track due to its brutal and hard-hitting energy, bass line buildups, crushing drum patterns and more. 'I Disavow' is one of those tired late game tracks that lost me, but the album is topped off nicely with the presence of the satisfying but brief 'Naysayer' track. Overall, it's a fairly mixed bag but ultimately a decently solid lineup.
This new album stands as a testament to the age ole adage that sometimes less is more. Despite its faults and rather oldschool, formulaic vibes, Rituals of Power still succeeds in making the cut in terms of attitude and overall respect to maintaining its death metal sound throughout. At the same time, this record often feels rather raw as well as energetic, packed together with those familiar riffs and formulas we've come to know and appreciate. It's a bit different...but those differences make for a breath of fresh air and a decent listening experience to boot.
Fave Tracks: 'Decline and Fall', 'Rituals of Power', 'They Always Come Back'
For Fans Of: Aborted, Exhumed, Skinless
Support your fave artists and musicians!
-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with others to help us grow. You can also like and follow us on the social media of your choice with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon.