ALBUM REVIEW: Misery Index – Rituals Of Power

Release Date: March 8th 2019
Label: Season Of Mist


You may recognise the name of Misery Index‘s drummer, one Adam Jarvis, from his other musical projects including Pig Destroyer and Scour. This hugely inspirational pillar of extreme metal is widely regarded as one of the key aspects of the grindcore/death metal scene of late, and his influence is identified all over this new Misery Index record.

‘Rituals Of Power’ marks the band’s sixth studio record in just under twenty years, with bassist/vocalist Jason Netherton as the only surviving original member. Comparisons to bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder and Dying Fetus are bound to be made here as the band have a methodical template which they have utilised to date, and show no sign of changing that here.

The melodic death metal aspect of their sound shoots through the veins of ‘Decline And Fall’, with a frenetic pace bordering on the characteristics of thrash metal in some places, coupled with technical riffing alongside Netherton‘s putrid barks. The catchy call and return chorus will do the band all sorts of favours in the live environment, and the levels of groove coursing through is exceptional.

‘The Choir Invisible’ leans on the doomier side of the band’s core sound with an outro segment that sounds gloomy and thick with atmosphere, before ‘New Salem’ picks you back up and throws you into a stampede of elephants, trampled with unrelenting speed, but given a slight breather in the form of a decent broken-down chorus echoing some seriously strong Lamb Of God influences.

The sonic assault of Misery Index is by no means palatable for all. ‘Hammering The Nails’ just feels like constant battering to the forehead despite a melodic guitar solo to help cut through the aggression, although gang chants on the chorus of the title-track does underpin a toe-tapping nod to metallic hardcore heavyweights Hatebreed, which gets the blood pumping and adrenaline flowing.

By the end of the album, you’ll no doubt be feeling a little bruised and battered by what’s come before, but there’s still plenty left in the tank on the final third to reinforce the band’s modus operandi. ‘They Always Come Back’ mixes a catchy chorus with heavily chaotic noise that tends to blur into one squall after a sustained period of time, whereas ‘I Disavow’ shows the band flexing their grindcore muscles combined with ample levels of groove and melody.

Misery Index aren’t a band who you should be surprised by if you’ve heard any of their previous material, but on ‘Rituals Of Power’, it does feel as though the more melodic aspects of their sound have shone through than ever before. Heavy yet satisfying, check this out if you’re patiently waiting for that new Lamb Of God record to drop this year.