Rituals of Power by Misery IndexRelease date: March 8, 2019
Label: Seasons of Mist
Rituals of Power is Misery Index’s sixth full-length LP, and the polished sound and experience of the musicians is clear from the first fist-pumping minute. These guys have honed their craft over the years, and what you have here is a finely crafted set of bruisers without a dud track amongst them. There’s variation, some stripped-down melody, colossal heaviness and tons and tons of thundering riffs. An iron fist in an iron glove. Subtle? Nah. Effective? Oh yes!
Misery Index’s pedigree is firmly in the grindcore/death metal camps, with various alumni of Dying Fetus making up their ranks, but bludgeoning technicality or death grunts are not the order of the day. There’s a heavy dose of good old-fashioned heavy metal and thrash woven into these dense songs. Among the staccato blast beats are solos, progressive melodies and – gasp – audible vocals. There’s still a healthy dose of death metal thunder present however, and fans of modern brutal American DM can pack light.
The album starts strong and continues that way. The ominous riffs that open first track ‘Universal Untruths’ make way for a pummelling slow burner underpinned by steady blast beats and thunderous vocals reminiscent of Obituary’s John Tardy. ‘Decline and Fall’ erupts immediately after, the pace picking up and making for a clear statement of intent on an album that intends to blow a hole in your wall and your head. One standout track is ‘The Choir Invisible’, with its galloping thrash guitars and strong chorus, delivered gang-vocal style.
Highlights elsewhere are the powerful ‘Hammering the Nails’, which has another strong chorus line and melodic groove. Title track ‘Rituals of Power’ takes a slightly more progressive direction in its second half with a lighter guitar interlude that adds another interesting dimension to the band’s distinctive sound. ‘I Disavow’ continues this exploration of slightly more melodic sounds before sub-3 minute bruiser ‘Naysayer’ ends the album in raging hardcore mode, smashing its way forward with foot full on the accelerator.
As I said at the beginning of this review Misery Index display awesome amounts of maturity and experience, having refined their sound over years of touring and undoubted hard work. This all goes to produce a very polished album in Rituals of Power, which has a clear purpose: to add some pummelling heaviness to your day. Varied enough to hold the interest yet with a singular-enough mind to avoid upsetting those who know what they like, Misery Index can congratulate themselves for a job well done.