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Album Reviews : Misery Index – Heirs to Thievery

By on June 20, 2010

What does one expect from a reasonably recent but respected deathgrind band including former members of a founding band of the genre (Dying Fetus)? I personally expect technical and song-writing competence, at the very least. Fortunately, Misery Index’s new effort, Heirs to Thievery delivers that and considerably more: a fist-pumping, exciting deathgrind album that, despite its flaws, it is difficult not to enjoy.

Right from the first track, Heirs to Thievery hits fast and hard. Unsurprisingly for a deathgrind album, there is a focus on intense rhythm and precision while maintaining the speed that is part and parcel of the genre. Melody is perhaps not the strongest suit of the album, it is somewhat buried in favour of chugging guitars and loud drums but, again, prominent and intricately composed melody is not expected from a band such as this. That is not to say that the melodies are explicitly dull: they are not particularly innovative or unusual, they don’t subvert any conventions or soar gracefully but they are not dull. They could be considered, however, something of a sideshow.

That being said, there are one or two rather excellent guitar solos, notably in ‘Fed to the Wolves’ and which provide a welcome change from the relentless rhythm section. It is here that Heirs to Thievery really shines, the short but brilliant drum solo that opens ‘Sleeping Giants’ is a fairly good indication of the absolutely precise rhythmic chaos that is, surely, this album’s selling point. Heirs is a veritable death metal samba; it is hard (and in my case, apparently, impossible) to stop oneself air-drumming madly along to this infectious beat for the entire world to see. What more could one ask from any grind album, really?

The vocals are quite impressive, giving the album some variety and depth with the varying styles, most obvious in the dynamic duo of vocalists in closing track ‘Day of the Dead’. The lead is pleasantly reminiscent of Peter Tagtgren’s work in Bloodbath at times, exhibiting the same ferocious animalistic guttural consistency that Tagtgren produced with that band, but still retaining a certain sound of his own. I say this is pleasant because this style fits the music of Misery Index even better than that of Bloodbath.

I enjoyed their 2008 album, Traitors, and I believe that Misery Index have surpassed themselves with Heirs to Thievery. It’s fast, punchy, rhythmic yet chaotic; everything expected of a grind album. I would possibly even describe some songs as catchy, even if I can’t make out the words or reproduce the growls to sing along to them. I think Misery Index is going big places, at least I hope so, and I don’t doubt that these tracks played live would make for an exciting concert. Let’s hope that Misery Index has a lot more where this came from. 8/10

Band: Misery Index
Album: Heirs to Thievery
Year: 2010
Genre: Death Metal/Grind
Origin: Maryland (USA)
Label: Relapse Records/Riot!
For fans of: Dying Fetus, Bloodbath, Napalm Death.
http://www.myspace.com/miseryindex

Track listing:
1. Embracing Extinction
2. Fed to the Wolves
3. The Carrion
4. Heirs to Thievery
5. The Spectator
6. The Seventh Cavalry
7. The Illuminaught <– Reviewer’s Choice
8. Plague of Objects
9. You Lose
10. Sleeping Giants <– Reviewer’s Choice
11. Day of the Dead

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.