Interviewer: “What’s your prediction for the fight?”
Clubber Lang: “My prediction?”
Interviewer: “Yes, your prediction.”
Clubber Lang: “PAIN!”
That, my friends was a quote from the primary villain, Clubber Lang, from “Rocky 3.” It was the movie that happened to be in the background on mute while I was getting my first listen of Misery Index‘s new album, “The Killing Gods.” If you’ve never watched “Rocky 3,” the south side slugger from Chicago gives Rocky Balboa an ass whooping in the squared circle for the majority of the movie. I’m here to tell you that, just like Clubber Lang, this album is going hard for a knockout.
Founded in 2001, Misery Index is a four piece death metal band based in Baltimore, Maryland, with Ex-Dying Fetus bassist and vocalist Jason Netherton, current Pig Destroyer drummer Adam Jarvis, Mark Kloeppel on guitar and vocals, and Darin Morris replacing long-time guitarist John Voyles.
Misery Index‘s last album, “Heirs to Thievery,” is one of the albums that has continued to scorch my ear drums since its release in 2010. So after waiting four long years for new material, this metal head’s giddiness has gone through the roof upon listening to “The Killing Gods.” Starting out, the album’s first five tracks are considered to be one song telling the story of Faust, the classic German legend of a scholar who is highly successful yet dissatisfied, so he makes a pact with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. It starts with ‘Urfaust,’ which is a slow twin guitar instrumental build up to the riff bombardment of Morris and Kloeppel‘s guitars that rule the majority of the album starting with the second track, ‘The Calling.’ ‘The Oath’ is the third track, which gives listeners a 1:20 breather with the combination of a single guitar playing and birds softly chirping in the background. It is all very soothing, so enjoy it while you can because the other Faust tracks, ‘Conjuring the Cull’ and ‘The Harrowing,’ are a death grind metal fueled rocket.
Along with the massive guitar riffs from the remaining tracks, I quite enjoyed the spectacular solos featured halfway through ‘Colony Collapse’ and ‘Heretics.’ If there is one thing about “The Killing Gods” that will make the hair on your arms stand up, it is the showcase of Adam Jarvis‘s drumming expertise. The album is stockpiled full of powerful double bass and unbelievable blast beats that will blow your mind, and I love the sound that the snare gives off. I can’t pin-point one track that best spotlights the drumming because Jarvis is marvelous throughout the album. The vocal performances of Netherton and Kloeppel are gravelly and hate filled, which fits in perfectly with the surrounding instrumental mayhem. The main complaint I have, and it’s a pet peeve I’ve had most of the year, is the bass line being too low in the mix for me. Yes, the bass does briefly pop its head up here and there on ‘Gallows Humor’ and ‘Heretics,’ but I wish it would get the spotlight more often.
After multiple listens, I ask myself, does “The Killing Gods” rank as high as “Heirs to Thievery?” My answer is, it is really damn close, and I’m going to strongly advise you to pick up this album because as of right now, it is on my “Best of 2014 so far” list. One last bit of advice when seeking out “The Killing Gods,” do yourself a favor and find the deluxe edition, because Misery Index does an excellent cover of Ministry‘s ‘Thieves of the New World Order.’