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Mirrors

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(13 Reviews)

Misery Signals Biography - Misery Signals Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

Description

Old black-metal practitioners never die, but their puns get slightly whiffy. Incineratehymn finds vets Deicide listlessly picking through the same old pile of bones, a shadow of their once hell-raising self. Where Deicide once seemed to be the unimpeachable paragons of all that is evil, Insineratehymn finds them playing second fiddle to the educated blasphemy of Marilyn Manson , or competing with the industrial thunder of Type O Negative. What once was radical now seems slightly quaint. Meanwhile, the music–never the most convincing example of the devil having all the best tunes, it has to be said–rests upon indulgent guitar solos and chugging metal squall. Perhaps it’s time for them to meet their maker. Whoever that might be. –Louis Pattison

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  • Almost all metalcore bands that want to be noticed or stay relevant nowadays probably had to abandon the genre’s cookie cutter verse-chorus-breakdown song structure long ago, and come up with something fairly new or innovative to bring to the table, instead. Misery Signals does not exactly reinvent the genre, and they probably won’t interest anybody who isn’t already a fan of it, but they aren’t content to simply conform and be just one of the crowd, either — this is a band with a face! Thus, the Wisconsin-based quintet should have no problem turning many listeners’ heads and becoming a really huge band. In fact, we could even be looking at heavy music’s next big thing!

    Misery Signal’s second album, 2006’s “Mirrors,” transcends the mere “metalcore” label in that it fuses together crushing heaviness with bright melodies, odd time signatures, and very tight and technical musicianship. And unlike a lot of melodic metalcore, “Mirrors” is, first and foremost, a heavy album. It punishes the listener’s ear drums relentlessly and from all angles, with pummeling, non-traditional rhythms, pounding drums, solid bass work, big, foundation-shaking breakdowns, and an impeccable, airtight interplay between the two guitarists’ equally meaty, bludgeoning riffs. New singer, Karl Schubach, (who, by the way, was selected via a myspace competition after previous frontman Jesse Zaraska left the fold) is the band’s biggest cliche, and his very limited and one-dimensional vocal range could be the only thing holding Misery Signals back from international greatness. In his defense, though, his beefy, full-bodied bellows (which are influenced squarely by modern day hardcore acts) do have a lot of force, power, and visceral impact, and they help to give the album its decisively edgy sound and in-your-face attitude. Overall, “Mirrors” sounds like a mix of Intronaut, Meshuggah, Hatebreed and/or Terror, and Zao, and the odd Converge influence is tossed in for good measure.

    With some viscous double bass thunder, chunky, resonating power chords, livid, throat-ripping yells of “You brought this on yourself!”, and a ginormous, brutally booming wall of sound, opener “Face Yourself” confidently storms through your speakers and crushes you like a bug as soon as you hit the “PLAY” button. “Reference Lost” and “Sword Of Eyes,” which evoke the sound of a boulder lumbering down a mountainside, are the other heaviest tracks on offer here. Elsewhere, several of the songs –i.e. “The Failsafe,” “Migrate” (which features exceptional bass playing by Kyle Johnson), and “Something Was Always Missing, But It Was Never You” (to name just a few) — feature sections of pretty, soothing, lightly-picked strings, thus creating an excellent juxtaposition between them and their muscular, dissonant, almost skull-crushing surroundings.

    Finally, there are two main highlight tracks from a melodic standpoint: “One Day I’ll Stay Home” and “An Offering To The Insatiable Sons Of God (Butcher).” The former boasts the album’s strongest and most infectious hook when Fall Out Boy singer, Patrick Stump, lends a bit of sweet, infectiously tuneful crooning to the chorus, giving the track a refreshingly laid-back and almost emo-ish sensibility. And the latter song features the album’s most prevalent melody, a sonically stunning and richly atmospheric intro that lasts upwards of forty seconds.

    Bare in mind that “Mirrors” probably isn’t the type of metalcore that you are used to hearing. This is a very challenging album, and its lack of immediate hooks, melodic vocals, conventional song structures, and sing-along choruses is likely to be initially a bit frustrating for some listeners, so it will probably require several patient, repeat listens to appreciate and absorb fully. But don’t give up on it, because it may not be as easy to swallow as most standard metalcore fare, but after giving it a little time to digest, it is ultimately much more satisfying.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • On a personal level, Mirrors was without a doubt one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Not only being a long time fan of 7 Angels 7 Plagues, Misery Signal’s Of Malice And The Magnum Heart quickly became one of my favorite albums ever. When it was announced by the band that Jesse Zaraska would not be returning as the band’s vocalist, one had to wonder how they would bounce back from losing quite possibly one of the most unique vocalist to embrace metal/hardcore in quite sometime. Their answer came in Karl Schubach and while Schubach may not have that distinctive rasp that Zaraska had, he does a damn fine job filling his shoes and puts his own trademark on the Misery Signals sound. Where Zaraska attacked with a throaty rasp, Shubach pummels you with a low growl while retaining the Zaraska-styled spoken word passages.

    Musically, Misery Signals remains light years ahead of their peers. They are neither a Swedish metalcore rip-off, nor do they succumb to the evergrowing Botch/Coalesce tech-influenced riffing. Guitarists Kyle Johnson and Stuart Ross create luscious soundscapes with their guitar riffs that not only complement but perfectly counteract Shubach’s aggressive vocal approach. Tracks such as The Failsafe, Reverence Lost, and the title track have a tremendously epic feel to them where as Migrate and An Offering To The Insatiable Sons Of God (Butcher) find the band treading water they hadn’t before. Simply put, Misery Signals is one of a kind and thats saying a tremendous amount considering they remain in a cluttered genre full of bands that, for the large part, remain remain undiscernable.

    What perhaps will throw most people for a loop is the guest vocal spot of Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy fame) on One Day I’ll Stay Home which works suprisingly well and creates an unmatched dynamic not found on the rest of the album. Overall, Mirrors is one of the best albums of the year and proves that the metal/hardcore hybrids of today still have something to offer the world of music.

    Highlight tracks: The Failsafe, Reverence Lost, Sword Of Eyes, One Day I’ll Stay Home

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When Of Malice And The Magnum Heart came out a couple of years ago, I went to Best Buy and bought it. I loved it. Catchy riffs, great breakdowns, amazing melodies and vocals made it a favorite cd at the time. I don’t remember how many times I’ve listened to it. And today, I went to the exact same Best Buy and bought the new Misery Signals cd.

    It was really sad to see Jesse go. I was wondering how they were going to keep their sound because the combination of Jesse’s throaty and raspy scream and the catchy riffs is what made the band. I quickly found out that they had not lost their edge when I heard the new singer, Karl, on the new song they put up on their myspace. While Karl doesn’t use the same vocal style as Jesse, his vocals are great just like Jesse’s. I think both of the singers are great. The band has kept their signature sound: catchy riffs that get stuck in your head combined with great breakdowns, and they don’t stop. Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy is in the song One Day I’ll Stay Home. For those of you who don’t know, Patrick is a huge hardcore fan.

    All in all, this cd is one of the top 10 metal/hardcore cds of 2006. I’ve waited 2 years for this cd and it was well worth the wait. If you enjoyed their previous full length, you should definitely get this cd. It’s great and the catchy notes and riffs will get stuck in your head.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • As it’s been mentioned by other reviewers, this is an amazing album. I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto Misery Signals, but I’m very glad I did. The best way I can describe this band is to say that they mix hardcore vocals (without cheesy HC lyrics), complex heavy, yet melodic riffs, and pummeling DB drumming to produce a progressive, Hopesfall meets hardcore type sound. Actually, the slight similarity to old Hopesfall is what really attracted me. The best part about Misery Signals is that they cannot be easily compared to anyone else!

    If you’re looking for something crushing, monstrous, yet simultaneously beautiful, pick this CD up. It’s a breath of fresh air amongst other bands in the stagnating metalcore scene.

    “One Day I’ll Stay Home” and “The Failsafe” are worth the price of the CD alone. Amazing songs.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Since their inception, Misery Signals have been one of the most talented up and coming bands in the heavy music scene. Even with only two official albums and an ep under their belts (although the members have scraped their teeth in such revered bands as 7 Angels 7 Plagues and Compromise), one listen to any material these guys have put forth is enough to make any doubter an instant believer. Granted they are lumped in with a fairly stagnant and overbearing scene at the moment, the music would be just as good even if metalcore weren’t the ‘in’ thing.

    “Face Yourself” breaks down the doors, opening with a gigantic wall of crushing sound. Notice new vocalist Karl Schubach’s presence on the mic immediately. And this guy was just an open audition? A guitar player by trade you say? Hard to believe after his punishing screams ring up and down your body. But where most bands in metalcore fail by sub-coming to the urge of throwing in a power-filled emo chorus or outrageously bland lyrical topics, Misery Signals shines. The lyrics are powerful and going with the theme of the record, they are much about self-reflection and the image we project on our peers in society, and how we inevitably love to believe we are fine when we are really falling apart.

    Don’t think the magnificent musicianship of the last record has been lost a bit, because it hasn’t. Misery Signals is able to maitain an umcomprisingly heavy atmosphere while stringing ambient and melodic breaks throughout almost every song. Ryan Morgan and Stu Ross still unleash manically heavy riffs and also the calmer sections that many other bands don’t even dare attempt, and Kyle Johnson and Braden Morgan are still more than capable of filling in the complex and unrelenting rhythms that Misery Signals are known for. While overall “Mirrors” probably isn’t particularly as heavy as its predecessor “Of Malice and the Magnum Heart”, it is definitely more ambitious and stable at moments. The record seems to begin with an onslaught (“Face Yourself”, “The Failsafe” and “Post Collapse), then slowly drift into a somewhat more sudbued section (“Migrate”, “One Day I’ll Stay Home” and “Something Was Always Missing, But It Never Was You”) before eventually ending in fury just as it began.

    “Mirrors” is just another example of how Misery Signals continue to prove they are one of the most competent bands to get lumped in with the metalcore scene. Although they are obviously light years ahead of most of the bands they are associated with, there’s an obvious reason they’ve gotten the tag. If you like metal or hardcore that is heavy, intelligent, and yet extremely atmospheric and melodic, you need to jump on the Misery Signals bandwagon immediately. This is already easily one of 2006’s best offerings.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now