Misery Index - Discordia - Relapse Records 2006
10 Songs
Running Time: 33:10

After a bit of radio interference and white noise, the band lashes out in fine, feral form, "Unmarked Graves" tearing at the jugular, and letting the world know that Misery Index is back in no uncertain terms. When the bottom drops out about halfway through "Unmarked...", Netherton's bass steamrolls the song all the way to the slow fade. As good as the opening number is, it's "Conquistadores" that really lights things up. Imagine a twisted hybrid of Nailbomb's pissed-offedness, the guttural vocal rumble of Immolation, and Vader's rabid leadwork, and you have a good jumping-off point. Grind has always been more overtly political than death metal, and Discordia is rife with diatribe and rancor, calling out everyone from religious zealots to "...the cowboy and Caliphate..." with equal fire. Never claiming alllegiance to one party line, Misery Index aren't pushing any agenda aside from calling it like they see it. "Breathing Pestilence" addresses the debaucle of "emergency management" that was Hurricane Katrina amid blistering riffs and machinegun double bass, and the melodicism found in the guitars of "Sensory Deprivation" bear witness to an older, wiser, but no less dangerous band of blast merchants. Nearly endless time spent on the road between releases has honed Misery Index's delivery, and turned the band into the powerhouse in the studio that we know of from the stage. Erratic, truncated grind ala Leng Tch'e colours "Dystopian Nightmares", but when the song bleeds seemlessly into the mostly-instrumental monolith that is the title track, the true growth of Misery Index becomes most clear. The spaced-out crawl of "Discordia" is fluid, and sewn throughout with tasteful leads losing none of their bite for the crescendo of the material's Mastodonic leanings (think "Hearts Alive"). Still, this is a grind/death band, and when "Pandemican" rips through the speakers with that "get in, grind down, get out" philosophy so prevalent in the more extreme bands on Relapse, it's assured that this is album was no half-ass rush job. I wish the same could be said for more bands of this ilk.

Making the move from Nuclear Blast's oceanic roster to the more indie-friendly Relapse imprint was probably the best thing Misery Index could've done. With Discordia, the band leaves behind the somewhat scattered feel of their initial releases, takes all that was good about Retaliate, and prepares for the push to a whole new level. Devastating, thought out, and all the more dangerous for it.

www.miseryindex.com


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