Oxford three-piece MSRY proclaim themselves to be “miserable hardcore”. This in itself is nothing really new, but it’s rare for a band to be as upfront about it as these guys are. From their lyrics, to their candid and honest live performances, to their very name itself, they deal with the issue of sadness and mental health head on.
However, on latest EP ‘Safety First’, they’re tackling a wide range of topics, none of which are cheerful in the slightest. Still, you’d expect nothing less.
‘S.I.C.K.’ opens with a serrated riff from Charlie Bishop and a killer “bleugh” from vocalist, Kial Churcher. It’s gritty, punchy, and if it was any rawer it’d be dripping blood. Oozing the same gusto and reckless abandon that’s present in their live shows, it’s a track that perfectly showcases what the band do best: unrefined, angsty, visceral chaos.
‘Broken Teeth’ is more of the same – though faster and with a less notable riff, it’s still begging for a circle pit. “Give me a reason to live / This life ain’t what it seems”, bellows Churcher alongside Lifetight vocalist Thomas Smith, and you can’t say that MSRY don’t live up to their name.
As the EP progresses, they venture into politics on ‘Freedom’ and the flagrantly named ‘Trump Card’, which take vicious swipes at both Theresa May and Donald Trump, and feature quotes from each of them respectively. It certainly helps to hammer the message home, with Trump‘s notorious “drive them out” particularly palpable as it rings out towards the end of the track. Whilst it’s great to see them delve into an area they clearly feel passionate about, there’s little to differentiate them from the likes of Stray From The Path or Cancer Bats in terms of delivery here.
In contrast, the title-track is gutsy and bold, with a stomping chorus, savage vocals, and breakneck drums from Keir French. It feels like this is where they come into their own, rather than sounding like an amalgamation of their peers, and is probably the strongest track on the EP.
‘Safety First’ is a rowdy, riff heavy romp that does well to capture the insanity of MSRY‘s live performances, but it feels like the tip of the iceberg, like they’re only just showing us a small glimpse of what they’re truly capable of. With a little bit of work on honing a more original, definitive sound, these guys could be excellent, but they’re not quite there yet. Still, it’s an undeniably ballsy effort, and a decent springboard for what will hopefully be even brighter things.