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The killing gods
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Les Américains sont de retour avec un cinquième album dont le titre leur va comme un gant: ces dieux du death metal pulvérisent tout ce qui se trouve sur leur passage, et l'assaut continu de leur rythmiques dévastatrices ne laisse aucun survivant. Tous ceux qui les ont vu sur scène pourront en attester! Ceux qui ont survécu, du moins...
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Par ailleurs, ils ont graduellement évolué vers un death/grind de plus en plus ambitieux techniquement, ajoutant désormais au fameux jeu de batterie d’Adam Jarvis des riffs de plus en plus complexes, perdant petit à petit le côté primaire du grindcore ; d’où le terme que je préfère utiliser de « grinding death » pour décrire leur musique.
Le précédent album, Heirs To Thievery, se situait dans cette veine, et constituait à mes yeux l’album le plus abouti du combo jusqu’ici.
Fidèles depuis leur deuxième album au célèbre label de référence Relapse, ils ont préféré changer pour ce dernier The Killing Gods, Season Of Mist étant une structure plus grande et de fait plus indiquée pour répondre à leurs besoins actuels (aux dires de Mark Kloeppel, vocaliste/guitariste).
Pour la production, Misery Index reste avec Steve Wright, qui avait travaillé sur les deux albums antérieurs ainsi que sur les dernières sorties de Dying Fetus.
Musicalement, The Killing Gods se situe dans la lignée du précédent : du death percutant avec une bonne dose de groove, avec des riffs aussi ingénieux qu’efficaces et immédiats ; on retrouve plus d’une invitation au headbang furieux sur ce disque.Lire la suite ›
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But there is some innovation and musical growth present, here, on "The Killing Gods," too. Consider, for example, the fact that "Urfaust" might be a sixty-seven-second-long opening instrumental piece with a commanding main guitar riff; but it is actually primarily centered around nice, backing twin-guitar melodies. And "The Oath" is another shockingly melodic instrumental interlude, and one that you might even go so far to say that it is borderline moody and atmosphere-inducing (!). These are two pieces that help to add substantial depth and texture to the album's ruthlessly brutal arrangements, and helps to make them better well-rounded and even a little bit unpredictable.
But for every subdued, textured, and/or nuanced moment there is, there are at least ten times as many moments of pulverizing extreme metal brutality. Immediately following the aforementioned "Urfaust," the album really gets going by slamming into "The Calling," which pummels your eardrums with its racing thrash picking and machine gun drumming. And when frontman Jason Netherton's raspy, atonal vocals are added to the mix, the end result is one, needless to say, one extraordinarily devastating number. And the only time Misery Index take a break from all of this aural pummeling, it is to adopt a sudden dead-stop pause and second or two of jarring silence, and subsequently, filter in a surprisingly harmonic guitar solo into the mix. And then, after the already described second moment of calm, the band revs up the engines right, straight away again, with "Conjuring The Cull," and all of the fiery chugging, guttural vocal growls, walloping blasts, and thrash beats that go along with it. With that said, though, the tune does traffic in a slow breakdown, complete with some nice twin-guitar harmonies, just for good measure, too.
All bets are again off, however, for the bludgeoning "The Harrowing," which explodes with pummeling grindcore blasts, borderline monstrous vocals, screaming guitar soloing (that comes ripping through), and blistering, razorwire, streamlined chainsaw riffage. But restraint is not completely forgotten, here, because "Harrowing" does also have a few subtle, well-placed tempo changes and chugging breakdowns, as well as another surprisingly ripping and sweeping pair of melodic guitar solos. And continuing in this tuneful vein, The title track opens with the sound of an ominous, chanting choir, followed up by a deft drum fill and some pleasantly surprising melodic riffing. But this all is then followed up by thundering cast-iron electric guitar riffs. Yet despite all of this number's meaty sonic heaviness, it is actually a relatively mid-tempo venture, at least at first. (That is to say, before the song launches into positively booming riffage and blistering blast beats.) And "Killing Gods" is also of note for its especially cool vocal stylings, including the use of some near black metal-esque shrieks and a memorable vocal hook. It is also the album's relative epic centerpiece, as it clocks in at five and a half minutes in length and features some considerably epic scope and breadth.
"Cross To Bear" is a moving, foundation-shaking blast with more white-hot, cascading riff chunks that perfectly interlock with Adam Jarvis (who has been moonlighting in Pig Destroyer), who lays down some seriously head-rattling, Gatling-gun-esque blasting to create some truly awesome sounding rhythms. And no, despite what this track's title may lead you to believe, this is most certainly NOT a Staind cover. Next up, memorable vocals/lyrics, thrashing guitars, pummeling drums, and an adherent, mosh pit-ready groove makes "Gallows Humor" one of the catchiest and most infectious deathgrind anthems that you can come by. And a stretch comprised of steady hardcore chugging, decent soloing, and grumbling, dirty-sounding bass fills further drives this point home. "The Weakener" is not too shabby, either, though, as it opens by blasting off with a dexterous, energetic drum fill before segueing into brutally abrasive, chug and churn riffs, thunderous rhythms, and Netherton's patented gruff-yet-intelligible growling. Another surprisingly melodic solo comes ripping through the mix, here, too.
And similarly, "Sentinels" has a rapid-fire little introductory drum solo that blasts into fiery-yet-catchy thrash riffage (and, naturally, more outstanding trapkit annihilation). And some more vocal variation comes into play, here, too, as backing vocalist Mark Kloeppel can be heard laying down some Lamb Of God-worthy Cookie Monster bellows at certain points of "Sentinels." Next up, the listener is in store for "Colony Collapse," another all-out trainwreck of technical, thrashy riffing, and extra-deft drumming (including some extra emphasis on crashing cymbal rides). And the tune is further highlighted by another excellent, ripping, and surprisingly lengthy guitar solo -- seriously, folks, this one just might be the best that Misery Index have ever written. And following it comes "Heretics," which is not to be mistaken for a Slipknot song, even though it, too, has catchy, staccato riffing, tight and thrashy drumming, borderline crushing rhythms, and a cohesive, swinging groove that ties the whole thing together. Of course, "Heretics"'s brief but noteworthy bit of bass soloing cannot be forgotten, either. All told, it all makes for one terrifically hooky and rhythmic mosh pit anthem. And finally, the set wraps up with "Thieves Of The New World Order," a borderline breakneck hidden-track driven by propulsive, string-bending guitar leads and excellent drumming (including plenty of stop-and-go grindcore blasts). The fact that this song is a Ministry cover might initially be strange to some listeners, but when considering how both Ministry and M.I. are both so heavily political, it actually makes perfect sense.
"The Killing Gods" is primarily a grindcore-inflected death metal record, although it does have some undeniably heavy crust punk, hardcore, power-violence, thrash, and groove metal elements mixed in, too. But it does not really matter what genre you file the album under, just so long as you label it a triumph!
Part two of review. I listened to CD all the way thru. And then I just left it in my PS3 playing over and over for the next 3 hours. Very pleasurable. And hard as nails.
Part three of review. About 6 listens in. You get your money's worth here, that's for sure. I would say the band, Misery Index, is one album away from releasing their masterpiece. The production needs a little tweaking. The guitar sound could be a touch more dynamic and louder. The snare drum, while I like the sound OK, reminds me of a little drummer boy drum. Perhaps it needs to be mixed back a touch, or a bit more snare? Finally, the lead singer should give the instruments more time to breathe without vocals. Thankfully, there are patches sans vocals, but I think to create the epic record, a bit less time on the microphone. So although the mix and production are very good, once they kick it up a notch to excellent, Misery Index has a great chance to shock the world.
One last comment. I really like the fact that they mixed in ambient noises, acoustic ( sounds like anyway ) guitar, choir singing and industrial noises. Really important when setting the mood. On their epic record, they will continue with this and perhaps slow it down a bit here and there for a little variety. A slower, sludge like song or two would contrast nicely with their typical "speed of light" pace.