Misery Signals
Ultraviolet


3.3
great

Review

by Trebor. STAFF
August 9th, 2020 | 257 replies


Release Date: 08/07/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Taking on seven years.

Absent Light wasn’t a complete disappointment. Released five years after the certified metalcore classic Controller, Absent Light was a refreshing albeit unremarkable record. It brought the riffs, it brought the huge screams, but it lacked the mood and majesty of Mis Sig’s best works Of Malice and the Magnum Heart and Controller. After five years of waiting fans started to expect something huge, and Absent Light just wasn’t that. Misery Signals made it so much harder on themselves to deliver a satisfying project with such a large gap in between records. Releasing an album that really wows or reinvents the wheel, or at least is as strong as its predecessor, became a necessity, and Absent Light just wasn’t that. And this brings us to Ultraviolet and the seven-year gap. Seven years, in addition to being the best Saosin song, is a long time to wait for a new record, especially for one as consistently great as Misery Signals. And a lot has happened during this gap period, original vocalist Jesse Zaraska is back at the helm, leading some oldhead fans to speculate a return to the raw and furious tone of Misery Signals debut album Of Malice. Like most forms of speculation, this did not pan out, as Ultraviolet is just Absent Light with a fresh set of paint and a slightly different vocalist.

The biggest glaring issue here is, unfortunately, the thing that brought the most optimism from the fans, the swapping out of longtime vocalist Karl Schubach for the band’s original vocalist Jesse. Karl doesn’t have nuance, but his voice sounds huge, it towers over the mix, and it gets the job done, but Jesse is known for a more nuanced and passionate delivery. Cool, what can Misery Signals do with that? Weirdly decided to have Jesse scream just as monotonous as Karl, and mix his screams just like Karl’s. So why have Jesse come back at all to just make him sound like Karl? I suppose it was to showcase his vastly inferior clean singing. Jesse’s screams aren’t a huge issue, they sound just like the screams on the last three records, just a little worse. But the clean vocals, the clean vocals on this thing are putrid. They’re overproduced and quadruple tracked to oblivion, clearly trying to mask a less than stellar voice. And he sings with this bizarre affectation, almost like a gruff bearded man from the Ozarks trying to emote for the first time in his life complete with fumbling vibrato. It’s a huge bummer and it ruins otherwise strong instrumentals on tracks like "Redemption Key" and "River King." Bringing back Jesse just to play to all his weaknesses is the first failing of Ultraviolet.

The second failing is the length. Nine songs, sub-35-minute runtime and I waited seven years for this thing? Album length is not an issue as long as the songs are fleshed out and the album is cohesive, but the songs on Ultraviolet feel more like a series of riffs lined up and sutured together with awkward interludes. The final two tracks "Cascade Locks" and "Some Dreams" are excellent and feel like they’re building up to something special, but then the record just sort of ends. Contrast this with Of Malice of the Magnum Heart and Controller which have very pronounced closers that really tie the whole thing together and end with a bang. Ultraviolet peters out, it’s over before it’s done anything interesting, and it somehow feels as if it has overstayed its welcome.

Ultraviolet is not a bad record, it’s still Misery Signals. The instrumentation is ace, that signature often emulated floating melody and constantly changing riffs is there, but the production is flat and the vocals are average. Standouts like "Sunlifter" scream potential, it’s heavy, it’s moody, and can’t you just hear Karl screaming “SUN LIFT HERRR,” such a missed opportunity. But whatever, you’re a Misery Signals fan and you waited seven years for this record so might as well enjoy it for what it is.



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user ratings (223)
3.5
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2020


57430 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Sunlifter, I barely know her

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JayEnder
August 9th 2020


8466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks for not 1'ing this because of Redemption Key's cleans Treb



Great review too btw.

Digging: clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned

Slex
August 9th 2020


10406 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah this is about right

Digging: Gulfer - Gulfer

SteakByrnes
August 9th 2020


21177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"and can’t you just hear Karl screaming “SUN LIFT HERRR"



You can in fact hear that here: https://soundcloud.com/avictimatarget/sets/sunlifterlike-yesterday

Digging: Motives - Death Throes

nash1311
August 9th 2020


1956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

3.3 seems the perfect rating for this. This is good but just doesn’t demand repeat listens and is a big drop off for such a great band

Durrzo
August 10th 2020


2249 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I think it's funny that one of the better tracks here was already done much better with Karl. Pretty much sums up what this album is, just a vastly inferior version of everything they've been in the past.

Space Jester
August 10th 2020


9035 Comments


Pretty good review, mirrors my thoughts on the album. Seems like I def liked Absent Light more than you did tho

Gyromania
August 10th 2020


30784 Comments


Nevee heard if these miserable signals guys, but generally I stay away from metalcore

SteakByrnes
August 10th 2020


21177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Absent Light slaps

Space Jester
August 10th 2020


9035 Comments


Please keep staying away forever Gyro

travisaurusrex
August 10th 2020


83 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

underrated, album is on repeat! laughing at the albums rated higher

Space Jester
August 10th 2020


9035 Comments


Why are you laughing

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2020


57430 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

To stop from crying

Scoot
August 10th 2020


20193 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

definitely their weakest album but it's still a jam

Digging: Keaton Henson - Monument

FearThyEvil
August 10th 2020


17340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Jesse sounds so much like Karl on here that honestly, I forgot Karl was gone.

Themaxwell23
August 10th 2020


130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Can you imagine how much better those cleans would of been with Karl ? Yeah decent record better then absent light but inferior to everything else.

decisions
August 10th 2020


708 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like when people criticize this album they are talking about Absent Light lol.



Pretty much slays the whole way through.

FearThyEvil
August 10th 2020


17340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This isn't even close to as good as Absent Light lol

Oldelpaso678
August 10th 2020


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Funny how the second last song on every album is usually the best - Five Years, Anchor, Reset, Ursa Minor and now Cascade Locks



I love this album but a few songs didn't really need to be here. If it was an EP with Sunlifter, Old Ghosts, Cascade Locks and Some Dreams then it would have been a 4.5/5

Relinquished
August 10th 2020


45613 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jesse mixes his vocals like how karl mixes his vocals like how jesse mixed his vocals



cmon trebor do ya hw



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