Review Summary: They never really have us if we just keep breathing.
Misery Signals release their fourth album, Controllers, produced by Devin Townsend. The line-up reads as follows:
Vocalist: Karl Schubach
Guitarists: Ryan Morgan and Stuart Ross
Drummer: Branden Morgan
Bass: Kyle Johnson
Controllers really is the complete package when it comes to metalcore, sporting relentless screaming combined with catchy choruses, simplistic lyricism that almost goes unmatched, atmospheric riffing and excellent drumming. To top that off, there is an element of progression present too, with the implementation of ambient sections (most notably on the final two tracks).
Firstly I’d like to touch on the unique atmosphere that Misery Signals create in their music. The melodic guitar riffs create an almost dreamlike feel, accompanied by drums that never seem out of place or ambitious, playing second fiddle to the guitars but never slacking. The sporadic ambient sections, contribute to the atmosphere greatly. Karl pulls his weight with introspective, yet crushing vocals. The drums and guitars acts as a unit for the most part, they merge flawlessly, with a couple of guitar solos to be found on the album. The aforementioned aspects that Misery Signals incorporate, is evident in the first track, Nothing, the epitome of what Controllers is all about.
Karl has an unique, powerful scream and the vocals do not get tedious or monotonous at any point on the album. Delicious screaming, clean singing and spoken vocals feature throughout. His clean singing during choruses were superb (A Certain Death, Ebb And Flow). Another plus point is that the vocals are actually comprehendible by merely listening, there’s no need to read lyrics. This is obviously not a fateful aspect of a metalcore band today, but a bonus I appreciated nonetheless.
The lyrics of the album is simplistic yet compelling (encouraged by the fact that I can relate to them personally). I almost feel obliged to quote some of the lyrics. Basically the entire first track, Nothing, is an amazingly written piece, the track culminates when Karl screams “I’d give anything, to return to the nothing from which I came.” A significant moment in the song and on the album for me. The track Parallells with, “Our fate unfolding. Is there something more than the roles we play?” Set In Motion with, “Let's make history stop. When there's nothing left. We'll be fed our father's dreams.” These are only some of Misery Signals’ mind blowing semantics.
Misery Signals have the ability to pull off surreal choruses, prime examples are the tracks A Certain Death and Ebb And Flow. Both of these tracks have memorable choruses, glorified by intense build ups - roughly two minutes long in each of the respective songs. The contrast is striking, an unrelenting two minute build-up, then the gentle chorus graces your ears and transports you to a musical utopia. The choruses throughout the album are very rewarding, containing good clean singing, heart tugging lyrics and catchy melody.
To conclude, Controllers is a superb metalcore album, with the ability to provoke deep emotion, satisfy the hardcore crowd without sacrificing melody, and pull of amazing choruses. Each track has something unique to offer, and the album should be listened to in its entirety.