01. Retaliate 02. The Lies That Bind (MP3) 03. The Great Depression 04. Angst Isst Die Seele Auf 05. Demand The Impossible 06. Order Upheld/Dissent Dissolved 07. Servants of Progress 08. The Unbridgeable Chasm 09. Bottom Feeders 10. History is Rotten 11. Birth of Ignorance2003 Nuclear Blast Records
by Rob McFeters
Being that Misery Index consists of former Dying Fetus members, I was expecting quite a bit of this band from the beginning. I had always been a huge Dying Fetus fan, so I jumped on the first few Misery Index releases. However, their debut EP “Overthrow” was the longest release, consisting of only six songs. With a couple of split releases with Commit Suicide and Structure of Lies, I was growing impatient for a full-length album. Now I know the wait was well worth it, as “Retaliate” completely obliterates Misery Index’s earlier material. For those not familiar Misery Index consists of former Dying Fetus members, Jason Netherton (who all the Dying Fetus albums), Sparky Voyles (who played guitar on the “Destroy the Opposition” album), and, recent addition Bruce Greig (who played guitar on the “Grotesque Impalement” EP). The band is rounded out by Matt Byers on drums, and if anyone could give Kevin Talley (former Dying Fetus and original Misery Index drummer) a run for his money, it's Byers. Misery Index bears a similarity to Dying Fetus but does so much more throughout the course of “Retaliate” than just play death metal. Misery Index mixes grindcore, death metal, and brutal hardcore to crank out one of the most vicious records I’ve heard all year. Over the course of eleven tracks, the listener is absolutely pummeled with this perfect mix of different heavy genres. Some songs are complete death-grind blasts, while others will transition out of death metal mayhem into crushing breakdowns that would make Sworn Enemy blush. Even lyrically, Misery Index won’t let up, and separates themselves from most death metal bands. Many songs show a disgust for history, and politics, and other songs are complete hatred for anything controlling. The lyrics have more of a punk rock feeling rather than death metal. There is a strong hardcore influence on this record, and that is what will set this record apart from other metal records that seem to be gaining more and more exposure in the mainstream media. Yet, in true grindcore fashion, there is a wonderful cover of Brutal Truth’s “birth of ignorance.” They also re-recorded “demand the impossible” from their split with Structure of Lies, and gave the song so much more power than the original recording. Misery Index are excellent musicians, but this record isn’t too polished, which gives it a great underground feeling. I imagine these songs sound exactly the same in the live setting. Matt Byers’ drumming is absolutely sick and lightning fast. I love how the guitars are razor sharp and fast, yet don’t come off as too flashy. Both the production and mix are stellar, and yet not overproduced. My one complaint with this would be the mixing of the vocals, which sound a bit muffled at times. Bottom Line: I can’t see how anyone who likes death metal and grindcore wouldn’t like this record. I also think there is an element that would appeal to more open-minded hardcore fans. While this record isn’t completely mind-blowing, I believe Misery Index has only just begun to show what they are capable of.
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