Grindcore, the ultimate amalgamation of both Metal and Punk. Spawned from a time when Thrash was becoming more accepted by Punks and the likes of Discharge and Crass were becoming more tolerated by Metalheads. For this reason Grindcore to me truly brought these worlds together in a perfect match that was as outrageous as Punk Rock and as disgusting as Death Metal. As someone who grew up on a diet of Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Sex Pistols and 999 I’ve always gravitated towards Grindcore and in turn discovered a love for Death Metal, what’s not to love about all of this unity within the underground?
Started by Jason Netherton and Kevin Talley of Ex-Dying Fetus fame Misery Index from the start was a shoe in for success. The Baltimore, US based Grind fiends erupted onto the scene with their 2001 EP Overthrow before unleashing their 2003 critically acclaimed debut Retaliate. As time progressed the band went through a few line up changes including the departure of founding member Kevin Talley. Yet this hasn’t deterred the band, now acting as a four piece Misery Index have a hearty five full lengths under their belt and now in 2019 they bring us Rituals Of Power through Season Of Mist, the sixth delicacy from their ever-enhancing career.
Opening track Universal Untruths is a perfectly balanced Deathgrind blaster, in its aggressive, sluggish manner it builds a sense of, as the title of the album suggests power, indoctrinating us into the hard hitting themes that are yet to come. The ideals of this release become rapidly apparent a Deathgrind edge that flirts with elements of Hardcore and yet remains ultimately memorable. The catchy hate filled vocals in Decline And Fall, The Choir Invisible and New Salem are a welcome addition and keep the album in the listeners mind, backed immensely by melodic yet destructive riffs and drums Rituals Of Power springs to life and fills the listener with energy just like Grind should.
This huge sound is carried into the later portion of the album too with the titular track, They Always Come Back and I Disavow providing further anthems full of Grind making this album a stand out for 2019 thus far. It may well be a stand out but don’t expect anything too out of the ordinary, sure the solos are pretty powerful and the riffs and full of melodic intricacy but this is essentially simply a great Extreme Metal release. I would attest that it is somewhat genre-defying however being that it is relatively difficult to pin it to just one genre but don’t come here expecting new or initiative ideas. Is that really a bad thing though? I would argue no, sometimes we know what we like and that’s just what we want and in the instance of Misery Index they deliver.
So despite containing a track which cannot help but make me think of Monty Python (if you know you know). Rituals Of Power is a relentless journey of massive proportions, in a live setting I can see this release adding a ton of new songs to the bands repertoire and really breathing life into many venues, giving the fans a surge of maniacal energy and a great outlet for pent up rage. This is proof that the foundations upon which Grindcore was built remain strong and unwavering, an underground resistance that puts the middle finger up to the ideal of Punk being dead.
(8/10 George Caley)