Review Summary: On the surface this represents everything I want to forget about late 90s/early 2000s metalcore and screamo.Misery Never Forgets
is the debut LP from Virginia based project Wristmeetrazor. And it, on the surface, represents everything I want to forget about late 90s/early 2000s metalcore and screamo.
The name is godawful. The production is fizzy. Their social media presence is overflowing with angst and melodrama. For all those reasons I didn't want to review Misery Never Forgets
. When the panic chords and mosh riffs came bursting through my headphones however, I couldn't help myself. I needed to go deeper.
Wristmeetrazor has been turning heads in the underground screamo scene since the release of their 2017 demo tape. Their sound is best described as Orchid meets Norma Jean; a combination the traditional “true skramz” sound with early-00s metalcore. It revels in emotional chaos but couples it with unrelating aggression, creating something that feels dynamic and exciting and manages to side-step the simple nostalgic throwback label that Misery Never Forgets could so easily have worn. Instead it is a cathartic, furious and powerful release.
I won't pretend that you won't recognise a lot of what this album offers. It is very much of its genre. Opening track Loathsome
, for example, kicks off with a bludgeoning and panic chord laden riff that would fit perfectly on the Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child
track-listing. XOXO (Love Letters from a Loaded Gun)
not only offers the most early-aughts metalcore name imaginable, but spends a lot of time reading from the Kurt Ballou authored bible of riffing; pulling listeners in with a sinister build before drowning them in a chaotic and venomous deluge.
All these elements may be familiar and there is obvious adoration for the genres this album is inspired by. You don't need to look much further than the album cover designed by pg.99's Chris Taylor to see that love. The control of tempo shifts and dynamics displayed here, however, makes for an album that grips you by the throat and refuses to let go. The songwriting tropes you recognize are given fresh life through new context and skilled execution. The result is an ugly chaotic mess, but one that is alive and sincere.
In 2019, this is some of the most well-realised work the genre has to offer. Even if you were to turn the clock back 20 years, Wristmeetrazor has the potential to give the titans of the genre a run for their money.
So yes. Wristmeetrazor is a terrible band name. It's bordering on tasteless and offensive depending on your viewpoint, but to ignore this snarling bastard son of the turn of the millennium for that reason would be a great disservice. If you're still not sure, it's a concise listen at only 20 minutes long. You could spend a lot longer listening to something far worse.