Review Summary: Can I help you sir? I will take a fresh helping of death metal, served with a side dish of hardcore along with a sprinkling of familiarity that warms the insides and makes for one happy customer.
As far as death metal purists are concerned, albums such as Traitors
may be enough to calm the legions of fans in a time where death metal has been ripped apart, rebuilt, and mixed with as many annoying sub-genre traits as one can handle. Deathcore, metalcore, mallcore, and whatever ridiculous tags have been given to such genre mashing bands, Misery Index are no [T]raitors
to the death metal throne on this album despite their potent mix of hardcore and bits of grind. Leaving off from the rather bland affair of Discordia
, which found the band muddling around with an all too familiar death-grindy-core kind of sound, Traitors
is an album packed full of tightly wound death metal blasting, hardcore chugs, and an equally impressive display of musical virtuosity.
What is most impressive about this album is the fact that Misery Index have come along way since Discordia
. Everything that was bland about their older sound has been completely left out to dry. Instead, the band have made their potential moments off their last offering come out singing (or growling). The death metal elements provide even more meatier hooks, an added abundance of complicated intricate riffs, and even a few moments of lead guitar melodies and solos. For a great example of this type death metal done right, check out the song ‘Theocracy’ for a taste of all the above-mentioned pros. As far the hardcore elements are concerned, they’ve been integrated in a fashion that joins these sub-genre traits effortlessly, providing for some improved chugging moments, barked and growled vocals, and slow tempo changeups that could cause cerebral haemorrhaging. The grind characteristics come fast (like a good grind song should be) and are once again seamlessly incorporated into their barrage of brutality. All of these fine characteristics are topped off with a great sense of social commentary on anything and everything surrounding the problems that face the United States today such as capitalist pigs, politicians, and religion (even the amazingly artistic cover art provides a glimpse into the mayhem contained on this beast as well). This meal is served to fill you up with a hearty sense that all is well in the death metal community.
Unfortunately, familiarity comes with the price of monotony and there are moments on this that cause the album to have some filler. Despite a step up from Discordia
, Misery Index fall into some of there comfort zones a little too much with bland riffs scattered about and a somewhat same-y feel by the time the album is finished. Songs such as ‘Ruling Class Cancelled’ and ‘The Arbiter’ make no claims of progression from Discordia
and could be considered filler, depending on how ambitious the listener is. Since this is death metal first and foremost, this could be a chore for some metal enthusiasts, but there should be enough here to sustain one’s metal listening interests for a solid forty minute death metal experience. These are all minor quibbles about an album that has more sustenance then trans-fat that listeners should be able to see through and take for a healthy diet of death metal served with a bit of fat to trim.
As far as Misery Index have come since 2006, they have succeeded on all fronts of improving and integrating their elements together into a real treat for death metal enthusiasts in 2008. Familiarity has its prices to pay, but what the listener has here is some top-notch musicianship that could satisfy even the most ignorant minded death metal heads. Traitors
might not go down as the most original death metal release of 2008 (that honour, hands down, goes to Arghoslent’s Hornets of the Pogrom
), but they sure created an album that will bide our time until their next release. “Will there be dessert on tonight’s menu”? “No, just a main course meal”.