ALBUM REVIEW: Misery Signals – Ultraviolet

Release Date: August 7th 2020
Label: Basick Records


When Misery Signals regrouped with original vocalist Jesse Zaraska for the ‘Of Malice And The Magnum Heart’ ten-year anniversary tour in 2014, it had all the appearances of being just that; a reunion tour with the classic line-up.

This was assumed to be nothing more than a nostalgia trip for fans, and it’s actually quite common nowadays. Protest The Hero would go on to re-enlist bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi and drummer Moe Carlson the following year for the ‘Kezia X’ tour, while TTNG recently reunited with vocalist Stuart Smith for their ‘Animals’ anniversary run across the US and UK.

Since those tours, both aforementioned bands have resumed progress as normal, working on new material with their current members. Misery Signals, however, clearly rekindled a connection they felt intrinsic to their group, and somewhat lacking from their last release (2013’s ‘Absent Light’). Subsequently, the last project the band would work on with long-time vocalist Karl Schubach, his departure was something of a misnomer, as he has since gone on to reveal how he was actively pushed out following his sabbatical.

Hard-cut to 2020, and the group have returned with not only their first new album in seven years, but second to feature Zaraska on vocals and the original ‘Of Malice…’ era line-up. In this sense, ‘Ultraviolet’ is almost like a sequel to the 2004 debut, and seemingly ignores (or possibly undoes) a lot of the progression listeners have followed since 2006’s ‘Mirrors’.

While impeccably produced and executed with expected confidence and precision, there’s no shaking the looming cloud of stagnation that floats overhead. For such a long absence, doubly so when considering the line-up, one would hope that they’d set more of a challenge for themselves and their eager followers. Instead, after such a respite, ‘Ultraviolet’ opts to play it way too safe, offering almost nothing to distinguish or elevate it from other mid-00s melodic hardcore acts, such as For The Fallen Dreams or August Burns Red.

Having the misfortune of competing against the blistering self-titled return from The Ghost Inside earlier this year, as well as rehashing a formula that had since been shifted and morphed into something wholly unique by 2008’s seminal ‘Controller’, this retread sadly feels like little more than going through the metalcore motions.

Above average, listenable and enjoyable, yet lacking any discernible identity, ‘Ultraviolet’ is an inoffensive, somewhat underwhelming misfire.