Review Summary: Melodic death metal needs a kick up the arse, Miseration are more than willing to provide this, blowing away nearly every other melodic death metal band with their debut album.
The fall of man is now at hand
Melodic death metal needs a kick up the arse, Miseration think so, and their debut album shows this. This album is what this genre should sound like, aggressive but still melodic leads, a breakneck pace, stunning vocals and an end-of-the-world atmosphere, this album does not let up for a moment, at it’s most melodic it still pummels most other acts in this genre, and at it’s heaviest… well, there’s no competition.
This brilliant aggression isn’t forced, and at no point does it seem over the top, the band haven’t abandoned Christian Alvestam’s clean vocals to maintain the heaviness, they have simply added them in at times to give the music a feeling of despair and desolation, and they are only put in when appropriate, it is pleasantly surprising whenever you hear his clean voice come blasting out of the speakers after an insanely low guttural growl, or a vicious scream. The band saw fit to keep in the melodic leads that this genre is known for in quite a few of the songs, but alongside the vocals and simply unbelievable drumming, they make sure that none of the power is lost and that you remain fully immersed in the immensity of this album.
Delusions of hope fading away, banned into an endless journey, finding comfort in a distant past, roaming spirits forever lost
From the get-go, Miseration want to show you that they mean business. At five minutes, the opener is a perfectly paced and brilliantly executed glimpse into their world. It opens with heavy as hell drumming being backed by the pounding of the guitars, before settling into a quick and powerful gallop. Although not exactly a concept album, the lyrics throughout deal with the fall of man, and the end of the world to be exact. Many songs also have some form of connection, with demons or angels (or even both!) being mentioned, couple this with the unrelenting heaviness of the album, and you have the perfect atmosphere for Miseration. Thrones has one of the most interesting moments in the album, where at just after the half-way mark, the song slows down, and get a melodic, almost doom-metal moment in the album, the vocals go clean, and you get treated to two different sides of the concept of the song, with an angel starting it off before a more brutal demon alters the lyrics but moments later. As soon as you might think that Miseration are going to stay in this slow melodic style, they smash back into the gallop mentioned previously, and end on a powerful note.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise then, when the next song, Perfection Destroyed, comes blaring through the speakers, with a beautiful melodic leads runs over the top of the furious blast-beat drumming, although more melodic than the opener, this song is still utterly relentless in it’s execution, even the cleanly sung chorus doesn’t take away it’s intensity, there is no break from the heaviness, no chance for you to breathe, even the solo (more on those later) lasts only for a second before the song hammers back into form.
The day of massacre, the supreme sacrifice. Harvest for blood, genocide or suicide, this is the end of days
If you haven’t already gathered, Miseration are heavy, and aggressive, very aggressive. It is pretty hard to label them under melodic death metal when they sound very little like most of the other bands who claim to play this style of metal. Only then does it strike you; this is how it should sound like. For a debut album, this is literally genre-defining, music can still be very heavy while being this melodic. Everything on this album is done perfectly well from within the genre, the drumming; very, very quick and delivered with some real talent, the vocals; covering every spectrum brilliantly, guttural lows, vicious screams, quality cleans, everything, and the guitars are much in the same manner, sometimes with very heavy galloping riffs and other times playing some very melodic and pleasing leads while still remaining heavy. The guitarists show their talent without being needlessly technical too, though there are some parts in this album which are mind boggling in that sense, they mostly place more emphasis on keeping the atmosphere than overly showing off. But fortunately, they are not limited whatsoever, in most of the songs there is a simply stunning solo lying in wait in the latter half, and they are all perfectly paced, and all very suitable to the style of the song which is going on already, they are never just thrown in there to make it longer or to make it more interesting, and each one serves a purpose within what is being played.
If there was any doubt whatsoever about Christian Alvestram’s vocals in Scar Symmetry
, there is simply nothing in this album to complain about, he is at his all time best here, sure, you don’t get to hear his clean vocals as much as in a Scar Symmetry album, but he more than makes up for it with his incredible range, his growls on this album are simply as good as (if not better!) than anyone out there at the moment, and his screams are excellent. He is in fine form here, and his vocals push this album from being very good to simply superb.
People mourning for those lost, carry the lost to the cross, so many broken hopes, this is genocide
Another thing this album does not lack is consistency, and even though it maintains the same atmosphere and style throughout, it is still pretty varied within itself. World Lethality begins slowly with a menacing acoustic intro that leads to a slower, more crushing sound from the band. Chain-Work Soul is probably the most melodic song on the album, with a stellar vocal performance from Alvestram, his clean vocals have never sounded so good. But one song that does deserve a special mention here is the finale of the album, which, while the opener set up the rest of the album and readied you for the assault on your senses, this song expands upon their sound and leaves you longing for more. It starts at the band’s typical break-neck speed, which is made all the more brilliant for the beautiful vocal trade off in the first minute, where the clean vocals serve as a complete contrast from the brutal growls that form the base of the atmosphere, here the clean singing sounds like a beacon of light in the darkness which is this album, but it is soon drowned by the hopelessness of the atmosphere and the song just smashes ahead with the typical Miseration aggressiveness, there are two unbelievable solo’s on this album, which like the vocals did earlier, contrast beautifully, the first solo is a technical wonder, and lasts only a few seconds, followed by the heaviest part of the song, but towards the end, as you are mentally drained by the heaviness, the song slows to a crushing atmosphere, but you are seemingly saved by a beacon of light, the beautiful guitar solo that is this light is not ridiculously technical like before, no, this is passionately played, and ends the album in the best possible way, giving the band the perfect opportunity to carry on with this sound in their next album.
Melodic death metal needs a kick up the arse, Miseration are more than willing to provide this, blowing away nearly every other melodic death metal band with their debut album. A captivating listen from start to finish, it’s aggressiveness is beautiful to behold, but is gorgeously contrasted by the melody that this band know how to provide, simply stunning stuff.