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Friday, April 01, 2011

Album Review: Misery - Evil is Crowned

Misery - Evil is Crowned
2011 Megaforce Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

If you're from the Long Island and New York City metal scene, no doubt you spent many weekends at CB's in company with the hardcore greats of the day. You'd also have to think the American incarnation of Misery could stand to rattle some cages on Bleeker if the club was still around.

Unlike the Australian metallers under the same moniker, New York's hardcore Misery has been at it for quite some time--and unless you're from the east, this is a band that has quite likely missed your radar. Too bad, because this Misery brings it with as much snapcase abrasion and bulldog regimen as you'll find straight outta the boroughs. Misery is a little bit Agnostic Front, a little bit Biohazard, a little bit Hades, S.O.D. and Pantera and plenty o' Pro Pain. You might as well as add Life of Agony to the firebrand since Joey Z oversees the latest paint peeler from Misery, Evil is Crowned.

Evil is Crowned may be the most memorable hardcore album in years, because hardcore itself is largely dead. The tiring breakdowns and the join-us-or-die militant statutes have sent most of the 2000-era hardcore acts back to the drawing board, and for Misery's purposes, Evil is Crowned is a fresh, overdue bellow.

Never forgetting that moshing, thrashing and whipping have equal measures in hardcore as the boot-stomping pogo rhythms, Evil is Crowned mixes its tempos in sequences that provoke jives as much as fist bashing. The orderly polyrythm Misery tolls out on Evil is Crowned may betray the occasional clunk and crunk, but overall, this is a band with true grit and genuine cred. Most of the tunes on this album veer between steady crush and double-tripped shredding--using "Bullet" and "Gone Tomorrow" as examples.

Originally formed by the LoCasto brothers, John and Joe, it's a wonder John still has a spleen with his high-pitched woofing and outraged yelling. As always, there's a poetic cadence to John LoCasto's huff 'n puff screeching and Misery feeds off of him, growing agitated right in tandem. "I Hate Your Face" builds off of John, even when kept to a mid-tempo shuffle most of the ride. The quicker spots climax in unison, as does most of the songs on Evil is Crowned. Even with slowdowns, the fierce thrash on "Social Anxiety" is just blistering.

Corey Schaefer and Duane Conlon rip the joint at every possible sound point--when John LoCasto isn't caterwauling overtop them. While there's a bit of repetition to Evil is Crowned, it doesn't stop this album from dumping New York gravel into your ears and upside your head. The production has a thinned-out cadence, which lends to the album's undeniable groove. Denser production would've robbed Misery of some poignant decibels which punches Evil is Crowned home like a hard day's work. At the end of the work comes the play, as in an amusing cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole," hardly played to script here.

Evil is Crowned slings its sweat upon you with an everyman's belligerence and a defiant mash through the gutters others in the past have merely pretended to swagger through. Misery is legit. If you're not yet on board with this band, plug in, then hop on your brother's Nuke Boy and get vertical.

Rating: ****


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