Album Review of Heirs To Thievery by Misery Index

Well, this is my first music review blog post. I doubt I’ll do these as regularly as my concert reviews but they will probably show up from time to time. Just for future reference, I’m only going to review material by local bands or bands that at least have some sort of tie to the area, in this case the new album Misery Index just put out May 11th, Heirs To Thievery. If you’re in a local band and want me to check out your stuff for possible review here, you can send me an email with a download link at DCHeavyMetal@Gmail.com Now I’ll get started with the review here, but first some background…

Misery Index was originally formed when most of Dying Fetus left that band, I suppose due to a falling out of some sort, and Jason Netherton, Sparky Voyles and Kevin Talley started a new band. Jason and Sparky are still in the band but Kevin has gone on to be in Dååth, and you may have seen the video of his audition for Slayer floating around on the net several years ago too. Now I have to say when I first heard that Kevin had left I was rather worried because I think he’s just a fucking fun drummer to listen to play. The first time I saw Misery Index after he left I was unsure how a new drummer would fill in those shoes, but Adam Jarvis totally blew me away to the point that he wasn’t just replacing Kevin, he was surpassing him! He really brings the drumming intensity to another level for the band. They’ve also had a few other guitarists go in and out the door too, but their line up seems pretty stable now with the inclusion of Mark Kloeppel several years ago. This album is a good example of how they are moving forward with this line up. Now on to the music on the album itself…

The album starts off with a quick song, Embracing Extinction, and it’s relentless. It’s under 2 minutes long and really sets the tone for the album. Fast, aggressive, brutal and short. The whole album is under 35 minutes long, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A full hour of this sort of intensity can get monotonous and I think they did a good job of giving the album enough variation that it doesn’t get stale and ending it before it does. While some of their previous work had some slower, I guess groovier parts and riffs, there isn’t as much of that on this one. Even one of the slower tempo songs, Carrion Creed, still has a nice rolling drum beat in the back that makes you want to step on the gas petal. There’s certainly a good mix of death, grind and punk in this album, as would be expected in a Misery Index album. And while they will probably always draw comparisons to Dying Fetus, they certainly have more of a punk edge than Dying Fetus does. While that may be so, this is by no means a crossover album, and I think there’s less of a ‘core sound in there than on their previous album, Traitors. This album seems more aggressive than that one too. One thing I don’t particularly like about this album is the way the vocals sound. I don’t know if Jason is using some weird distortion with reverb or a layering effect or what, but sometimes it comes out pretty weird. If you listen to the chorus in The Spectator you’ll hear what I’m saying. Maybe it’s one of the other guys helping out on backup vocals, but combined with the awkward tone the leads have on this one, it’s sort of distracting. The final song on the album, Day Of The Dead, has part of it’s chorus in Spanish and the vocal sound combined with the repetitive lyrics in the chorus kind of ruin that song for me. But this isn’t American Idol music here, the vocals aren’t the main attraction and great songs like You Lose and the title track more than make up for it on this solid album. I really can’t wait to hear some of this material live. I missed their last area concert when they kicked off the Facemelter Tour with Dying Fetus at Sonar in Baltimore this month, but maybe I’ll get to see them play the Ottobar on Friday 11 June 2010 with Goatwhore and Revocation. You can get more info on that on my Upcoming Concerts page.

I’m not particularly big on reading lyrics to metal songs, I tend to like deciphering what I can for the most part on my own through listening, but for this review I looked at them a bit. I think a good way to get a general idea of what an album is really about is to check out the title track’s lyrics. On Heirs To Thievery the title track seems to be a Chomsky inspired critique about how much of what is in the history books taught to us in school is propaganda, particularly in how the US was stolen from the natives. Thus, we who are living in the US now are the heirs to the theft of their land/culture. Well, that’s what I get from it at least, and you can see this in the album cover art too. I particularly liked the line: “Eliminate the natives (and leave them a museum!)” If you’ve ever seen the National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian museum on the National Mall in Washington DC from the outside, you’ll know it looks like modern European abstract architecture, but it’s covered in yellow stucco (or something). I guess the yellow stucco is representative of native american culture? The song’s lyrics sort of remind me of the Iron Maiden song Run To The Hills in that sense, but also because it’s kind of odd hearing that point of view from a band of white guys. In this song they also mention how the expansion of the US was built on slavery. Much of the other songs’ lyrics on the album are pretty typical political death/grind fare, though there is nothing wrong with that. This post is long enough already so you’ll have to find them yourself if you want to know the details. I actually like reading Jason’s blog Demockery, you can check that out here, which will probably give you a better idea of his views which are nothing if not well thought out.

Overall, I wouldn’t call this the best Misery Index album ever, but it’s still damn good and certainly worth getting, especially if you like any of their stuff already because you’ll certainly enjoy this one too. It still has that classic Misery Index sound but they keep progressing as a band too, enough to keep it from getting stale. Fans of bands like Nasum, modern Napalm Death and Brutal Truth will love this, but even if you’re just looking for something to simply bang your head to, their trademark combination of catchy riffs and sheer brutality will definitely do the trick.

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1 Comment

  1. Haven’t heard a lot of Misery Index but what I have they seem to be fairly creative!.

    \m/ \m/ for Maiden, Napalm and Brutal Truth!.


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