For those that do not know, Misery Index are a Maryland/Washington D.C. based death metal band with strong hard and grindcore influences. If you have heard of this band, it’s probably because drummer Kevin Talley is the former skinsman for Dying Fetus. But, even though both bands play death metal which is equally brutal and technical, Misery Index are no Dying Fetus Junior. This band is a lot less groove oriented and politically motivated. Talley and the gang also get by without as many breakdowns as that band because MI are always/consistently heavy. There are absolutely no slow tempo changes or melodic guitar lines on their debut album, 2003’s “Retaliate,” so the music is never allowed to breathe. The only times the onslaught relents is during the few, brief seconds when one track has ended and the proceeding song hasn’t yet begun.
Talley pummels away at his skins, creating complex, walloping blast beat bonanzas while guitarists Sparky Voyles and Bruce Greig (who would leave the band in 2004) lay down an uncountable number of crushing, mosh pit ready riffs. And vocalist/bassist Jason Netherton’s commanding, arresting voice barks out mean, ugly lyrics like “the razor blade infections cut caverns deep across my skin.” Lastly, this record also boasts great production, because the instruments and the rhythms sound very crisp and articulate. The end result is a disc which is composed of eleven awesome, impenetrable, walloping, skull-crushing, dissonant, punishing, satisfying songs which plow straight ahead, steamrolling over everything in sight and shredding the listener’s speakers.
Songs like “The Great Depression,” “Angst Isst Die Seele Auf,” and “Servants Of Progress” interlock cracking, machine gun, almost mind boggling drum beats with lumbering power chords, and, likewise, the album opening title track features both huge, pounding power chords and excellent double bass drumming. The fifth track, “Demand The Impossible,” might be the record’s best song. It augments churning riffs (which are thick enough to wipe out a whole city) with a catchy, slamming, jackhammer blast beat.
Misery Index deserve to (and are probably going to) be huge. So, if you’re a metalhead and you haven’t already checked this band out, you owe it to yourself to do so. “Retaliate” (and MI’s sophomore album, “Discordia”) are essential purchases for everybody who is a fan of death metal and grindcore, and all neck snappers in general.