Metalcore, since its inception, has been a guilty pleasure of mine. I know it gets criticized for being “metal by numbers”, but I still enjoy it. Misery Signals has always been one of the bands that produce this brand of metal that really stood out to me. Their debut “Of Malice and the Magnum Heart” has become a seminal album of the genre since its release. The band has continued to expand their sound over the years, but they have always kept their “core” values. After the release of “Controller” in 2008 the band went on hiatus. Most of us thought it would be the last we heard of them. Thankfully, with the help of their fans from a highly successful Indiegogo campaign in March, Misery Signals will be releasing their long awaited fourth album, “Absent Light”.
The album opens up with a slow building intro, aptly titled ‘A Glimmer of Hope’. With ambient guitars, light strings, and Karl Schubach’s bellowing voice towards the end, it builds to what you think is going to be an explosion of sound and fury. Instead takes a sharp left turn into what feels like a street fight full of crushing riffs from Ryan Morgan and Greg Thomas with the first full track, ‘Luminary’. The next track, ‘Reborn (An Execution)’, is what brings me as fan of Misery Signals home. The melody of the track totally reminds me of ‘The Failsafe’ from their 2006 album “Mirrors”. There is a spot of strings during the bridge of this track as well. The next track, ‘Carrier’, continues this trend with another strong, familiar melody, making it even easier to get into the new record.
To make sure you do not get too lost in their sweet melodies, Misery Signals brings you back to reality with a punch in the face half-way through on the track ‘Lost Relics’, featuring guest vocals from Todd Mackey of With Honor. No break downs necessary here, just punishing guitars and plenty of double kick. Speaking of double kick, one of the biggest standouts on “Absent Light” has to be the phenomenal drumming of Branden Morgan. His ability to perform the brutal, controlled chaos that he does, yet stay on point is fantastic! The man explodes AND maintains a groove in his playing throughout the record. Some great examples of this are on the aforementioned ‘Reborn (An Execution)’, ‘Carrier’, and also ‘Two Solitudes’.
This is a great album. “Absent Light” should be the new blueprint for a comeback record. Not only does it show growth in the band’s sound (even though they’ve been gone for the last five years), but it also stays true to their heritage. Misery Signals is back kids. Let’s hope they are here to stay.