Church of Misery
Houses of the Unholy


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
April 20th, 2009 | 60 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: church of misery once again effortlessly amass their devoted congregation.

The drug-infused, feedback-driven style of sludge doom that Church of Misery have perfected over the course of their decade-long arse pummeling reaches another peak with their fourth full length, Houses of the Unholy. In every sense, the band has remained within the confines of the genre, as well as the bounds that they set with previous albums, but it is immediately noticeable that their music has become progressively better written and better executed, solidifying the band in the higher echelons of sludge.

Church of Misery’s grasp over their blues influence is easily their strongest point – each riff and melody is shaped to incorporate the genre’s legacy, groove-laden arrangements constantly flirting with Black Sabbath-esque doom. It could even be said that Church of Misery, along with contemporaries Electric Wizard, represent the modern day image of the legendary doom group; the almost instantaneous appeal of their catchy hooks hopping in and out of resonating feedback is remarkably reminiscent of Iommi’s pioneering style.

As the shortest track on the record, ‘Shotgun Boogie’ runs with a heated urgency and gives a somewhat condensed representation of what Church of Misery are all about. The first minute consists of a flurry of ascending hooks weaving in and out dense riffage, before stopping for a second’s inhale. You can almost smell the smoke lingering about the song, remnants of its ‘divine’ inspiration.

Although it’s a technique widely used by sludge bands, the sound samples interspersed about the album add a further level of depth to its character. What one can note about Houses of the Unholy however is that Church of Misery have restrained themselves when it comes to these marijuana induced paralyses, in which the samples appear most prominent. The garbled voice-overs that introduce ‘Blood Sucking Freak’, and similarly ‘Born to Raise Hell’, are not the feature of either track, but are still highly potent in their diminished positions.

Nonetheless, the shortage of samples and psychedelic passages that were abundant in earlier releases such as Master of Brutality is made up by a huge versatility throughout the album’s instrumentation. The midsection of ‘Blood Sucking Freak’ exemplifies the band’s talents, with a lead break worming its way out of the rhythm and flaring into a solo, one which reminds the listener that despite the sludge aesthetic that comes with Church of Misery, the band is not incapable of toying with melody and producing something rather intimate and heart-warming.

The aforementioned moment of grace is cut short almost immediately however, as ‘Blood Sucking Freak’ falls back into place; the coarse vocals most definitely play their part in this abrupt return to ferocity. It may seem that Houses of the Unholy is rough around the edges, but sound-wise the various elements are clear and musically coherent. The coating of feedback makes a certain impact, but it is most definitely the thick and belligerent yells that give an aggressive edge to what is rather pleasing music.

With Houses of the Unholy, it’s apparent that Church of Misery have purged the less accessible components of their music and, although rather marginally, have improved upon their well established formula of catchy stoner tunes. The record remains hard-hitting, but not without being a comfortable expression of sludge, one which is consistently enjoyable and appealing. Highly recommended.



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user ratings (84)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
April 20th 2009


44360 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Name is awesome, second paragraph had me sold. This loks damn good, will myspace first and see what's up. Good work.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Crimson
April 20th 2009


1935 Comments


that's such a generic doom metal name... in a good way

doubt i'd like this, great review though

PanasonicYouth
April 20th 2009


7411 Comments


This album is so effing great. Awesome review, brosef.

DBlitz
April 20th 2009


1690 Comments


nice review. heard good things about it, might check this out some day

fireaboveicebelow
April 20th 2009


6837 Comments


pretty solid from my half assed listen a while ago, if you like any of those recs at all you'll like this

robin
Emeritus
April 20th 2009


4248 Comments


great review, getting this now as you suggest

kingsoby1
Emeritus
April 20th 2009


4950 Comments


nice nice nice

gaslightanthem
April 20th 2009


5209 Comments


didn't see this review. it's good well done yet to get this but will do eventually

karina
April 20th 2009


165 Comments


band makes me want to chop off slices of little asian ass and eat it up

Essence
April 20th 2009


3585 Comments


i love that band picture so much

it's like, japanese, japanese, japanese, holy shit what the fuck a white guy?

And he LOOKS that confused, too.

kitsch
April 20th 2009


5107 Comments


got this from your blog the other day.

have yet to listen
will rectify

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 20th 2009


3742 Comments


album straight up slays for days

Tits McGee
April 20th 2009


1876 Comments


I saw this on your blog. I neglected to download it for whatever reason, but I will now.

rasputin
April 20th 2009


14544 Comments


yeah, album is very good

Wizard
April 20th 2009


19401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You know how much I love sludge rasputin. Thank you, thank you!

Oh review was excellent good sir from Aussie!

Digging: Khonsu - Traveller

gaslightanthem
April 20th 2009


5209 Comments


wizard get the newest grief album

Wizard
April 20th 2009


19401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They have a new one? Getting that!

gaslightanthem
April 20th 2009


5209 Comments


it's not new but their newest released in 2000 i think '...and man will become the hunted'

jrowa001
April 20th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dont know yet what to rate this. probably a 3.5 or a 4. the vocals need to grow on me i believe for this to be a 4

PanasonicYouth
April 21st 2009


7411 Comments


Not gonna lie, this sounds incredibly similar to The Sword. 'cept the vox. Which are about 100x better.



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