Review Summary: Misery Signals move beyond their chaotic origins, creating a more varied and melodic album.
Misery Signals are an interesting band, arguably one of my favourite Metalcore bands. After releasing their debut “Of Malice And The Magnum Heart”, vocalist Jesse Zaraska decided to leave the band in search of a more mellow output (Sleeping Girl). Enter Karl Schubach, a competent but decidedly different kind of vocalist to Jesse. Where Jesse’s primary output was his ear piercing scream, Karl focuses on a lower growling method. Some will undoubtedly prefer Jesse to Karl and with good reason as I also feel Jesse was a stronger vocalist. That being said Karl holds his own throughout the album and provides plenty of intensity throughout.
Moving beyond vocals, Mirrors sees the band comfortably moving forward from the sound they established on Of Malice, as with their previous effort the band demonstrates a level of technicality not often seen within Metalcore. No, it’s not crazy Botch technicality but it is technical nonetheless and more to the point it isn’t showy. You won’t find Mirrors full of noodling and flashy riffs, instead you get solid well timed instrumental performances that flow into one another.
At the same time the band definitely brings enough heaviness to the table, maintaining the chaotic energy of “Of Malice”. Granted, the band also incorporates a greater amount of melody as well as ambience that assists in breaking up the album into more digestible portions. Notably the most melodic moment on the album comes in the form of Patrick Stump, providing guest vocals on “One Day I’ll Stay Home” that not only demonstrate Misery Signals’ ability to craft interesting music but to incorporate a very “un-heavy” aspect into their overall sound.
For all these positives, one glaring issue that constantly makes itself known throughout the album is the production aspect. Whilst it’s not so horrible that it makes the album unlistenable, there is a certain in-balance between the lower end of the album’s sound. Making particularly bass-y areas sound very thin and lacking in completeness. That being said, the production is still passable and whilst it may be a tad annoying at times it doesn’t severely damage the level of enjoyment one can find within the album.
Aside from the obvious production issues, there are a few occurrences of the band being too heavy for their own good. This heaviness can be a slight problem for some mainly because it increases the albums abrasiveness. Also certain songs run a little too long. But beyond this the album is still very much a solid effort on the part of the band. 90% of the time the band is in top form displaying excellent song writing and Karl Schubach putting forth an excellent vocal performance. All in all Misery Signals have continued to progress onwards from their previous effort, with a new vocalist bringing a somewhat different approach to their previous sound the band has shown a solid progression from their earlier work. Some may still hope for a return to the sound shown on “Of Malice” but I figure it’s best for MS to move forward and continue to experiment with their sound in favour of pleasing cry babies.