Review Summary: Heavier than Your Demons - Their Angels and more melodic than The Mirroring Shadow. Possesses some indescribable flavors that separate it from the preceding albums.
6 of 6 thought this review was well written
Miseration is probably the most indeterminate of Christian Älvestam's multiple projects, being approached with the least conventional confines of all his projects. For anyone who knows both of this band's previous efforts it's likely already apparent that any songwriting framework they might have assumed does not extend beyond the album in question. Whether this is an intentional exploration of different ideas and aesthetics or just simply not knowing what they want to sound like is irrelevant, as diversity is always a good thing. The band's latest offering, Tragedy Has Spoken, follows this trend as well.
The overall mood of this release is probably closer to the debut album, but the riffing structures borrow heavily from the follow-up. There is still plenty of those lovable venomous BDM hooks and catchy verses that have managed to stay a constant in Miseration's sound. The thing that separates this album from its predecessors is the penchant for atmosphere, not quite rendered on the first two releases. To this end, the band has employed the aid of several exotic stringed instruments and the piano, either layering them with the relentless guitar onslaught or letting them shine in acoustic passages. Of these, however, there are few, the album is really heavy almost at all times, the most so at the beginning - the opening track "Stepping Stone Agenda" is nothing short of deathgrind with its chaotic and unrelenting heaviness. Tracks like "Ciniphes" or "On Wings of Brimstone" provide a stark contrast to this, having some of the most memorable melodies on the CD, none of which are sugary or cringeworthy yet still maintaining a fair level of catchiness. Älvestam's clean vocals are back this time, but used on much fewer occasions than YD-TA and reminding strongly of his 90's work - no super high pitches to be found. The growls are as good as they've ever been, but for someone who habitually listens to Christian's material, they can get tiresome as they're practically identical to all that we've already heard. They don't really stand out in the mix either.
Sadly, it needs to be said that this album lacks the single "wow" track that would make returning to it instinctual, like "Seven Are the Sins" or "Voyaging the Seas of Thought" were. For a contrast, no track is particularly weak or boring, as was the case on The Mirroring Shadow. If one were to summarize the sound of this album shortly, it would have to be something like "a more experimental and atmospheric Your Demons - Their Angels with some Unmoored and grind flavors". It's a difficult CD to appreciate - on the one hand it definitely seems to lack focus exhibited by the two albums before it. On the other hand, it seems to possess something hard to pinpoint that neither of its predecessors had. This is definitely worth exploring further by listening to this album many times over - as luckily it is easy enough to listen to and not long enough to start bothering the listener. No fan of Miseration should be gravely disapointed by this release, but I'm not yet certain if it deserves any particular wows either.
Great review that intelligently explained the development of Miseration's sound. I just heard the three officially released songs last night and thought the music was fantastic, especially the more experimental sections that intensified the apocalyptic mood of the album (Waylander is the scariest track I've heard this year); the production was absolutely incredible before the sound engineer jammed the audio levels almost flat into the ceiling. When this album is heavy, there is absolutely zero dynamic range, and when all the instruments are sounding at once, it sounds horrible: half the instrumentation almost inaudible, the rest sapped of half the heaviness, and distortion all over the place to the occasional point of cringing. Dear Idioglossolalia, this disc is an outright sonic disaster. I may not be able to handle the whole album because of this loudness war.
But TMS was heavy as fuck, much heavier than this I daresay. And some of the tracks were FUCKING enjoyable, such as the amazing "Voyaging the Seas of Thought" and the title track. "Theca" kicked ass too. The rest of the songs, not so much. This album is better overall.
Pulse goes high, then they die
Endless voids taking over
In cold planning, stretching out
to claim the waking hours!
DUM DUM DU-DUM DUM DUM DU-DUM
And transform the worlds into voids
Buzzing in the back of thoughts!
Damn you dude, if you don't think that part is utterly sick