Review Summary: Misericordiam make a significant explosion but in the wrong place and at the wrong time.
The thing about Misericordiam on this release is that it doesn't seem like, at this time in 2006, they were attempting to conform to any kind of indefinite rules of the genre that they played - but they did anyway.
From the outside, I think it's hard to say that this will be anything but generic, reading song titles like - 'Social Jihad And Genocide. The Only Certainty In An Uncertain World With No Promise Of Tomorrow' & 'Sha Sha In Her Boomboxx. Mhmm Tastes Like Pussy'. It's certainly not promising for the listener, and largely builds the expectations of what the music will be like to essentially your regular grade deathcore. If you take a look back at the deathcore music scene halfway through the 2000s, you'll no doubt find a lot of bands figuring out this obscure formula for long-winded song titles, inevitably becoming a mark for what will nonetheless be your now 'generic' deathcore. This being breakdown upon breakdown upon breakdown. Now, Misericordiam don't abide 100% to the picture they seem to paint for themselves of your 'br00tal' band. Don't get me wrong, there's some other nice influences involved on this release. But when they do return to the ultimate key attributes of the genre; they transform like The Thing into some pathetic and tired band. As a result, the music seems to lose a sense of direction at times despite its strong moments.
Ignoring the intial issues and getting straight to the music, the guitarwork has a very nice range of technicality. On 'Obsessive Compulsion', showing some really fast riffs transitioning to some sludgy chords in a very slick fashion. Likewise on 'Hefty Bag Disposal', the guitarists show themselves to be perfectly competent in implementing what appears to be a grind element to their music (the drums also doing this). However, often the speed ultimately defeats any real impending sense of dread or emotional reaction that can be drawn out - making parts of songs merely a confused blur of vocals, guitar and drums. After a few listens, this unfortunate attribute does pan out, but for the first time listener; it's certainly not appealing. However, inbetween the necessantly repetetive breakdowns that seem to dot the t-minus 30 seconds spot of each song - the rest of the band do come together well. The drummer is a particularly strong aspect of Misericordiam, his blasts and slow drum work often occurring one after another, displaying his ability in a very agreeable light. A few times this comes to fault, with the production largely reducing the cymbals on this album to momentary 'ting!'s outside the main sound of bass drums and snare. But his speed is fantastic and works very well at creating a chaotic base for the rest of the band to build upon, particularly during 'The Key Razzle Extravaganza'. At times, his all out blasts somewhat destroy the music's sense of direction as aforementioned; but aside from these momentary flickers of confusion; Misericordiam put their instruments to good use outside of the typical breakdowns.
The vocalist uses an inhaled growl vocal technique, creating some particularly cringe-worthy moments on 'Soclal Jihad And Genocide' with his growls, his screams being largely accomodating and your typical deathcore screams (not being entirely present but appearing for one or two lines). But unfortunately where he falls down is in the excessive use of pig squeals. I like an appropriate use of these as much as the next deathcore fan, but at certain points when you've got simply 'BREE BREE BREE BREE BREE' with no real variation in tone, texture or pitch - it gets pretty dull fast (see 'Cum Sucking Whore). But outside of this, his guttural growl tone captures a fantastically inhumane and demonic impression as he spurts out his absolutely manic lyrics. For example: 'What is there left to worry about" No more social and economic divides. No more living in a world where money is valued higher than life. If I was left dead in the gutter I would be thankful.' These often form long and furious monologues, but seem to extend into such detail that it takes you out of the morbid perspective that the music wants to put out. These aren't assisted by certain breakdowns accompanied with cheesy one liners such as 'I SHOULDN'T HAVE ***ED YOU SO HARD' spoken in a casual regular voice. However, skill is also shown in his hardcore-style vocals occasionally appearing in verses - a nice touch but it doesn't exactly add another dimension to the atmosphere.
A Thin Line Between Man And Machine isn't bad, but ultimately it's not fantastic. It's enjoyable for a few listens but needs a fair bit of revision to become significantly memorable outside of the voice-cripping growls of the vocalist and those repeated pig squeals.