The crust punk veterans from the wintry polar vortex of Minnesota have returned to release yet another great record. This time it’s a 6 song 30 minute album that’s very loosely considered an EP. MISERY have had the same lineup for the past 25 years now, and is unique in the fact that all members take turn at lead vocals. Very early in the beginning, the lead vocalist left the band to pursue other options with a band from NYC. Although this other band may arguably have a bigger reputation than MISERY, the group crumbled due to a “difference of egos”. This new offering, aptly titled The Beginning, features the original 5-piece lineup on 1/3 of the material here. This is the band’s second release on Seattle based Inimical Records, and is the follow up to the highly acclaimed 2xLP “From Where The Sun Never Shines”, which was put out in 2012.
The record starts with 2 brand new tunes, title track The Beginning and Armageddon. The Beginning utilizes heavy usage of clean guitar melodies, and starts with a baby’s wails before any vocals. Musically the song seems to describe the cleanliness of birth before the corruption we all endure from the forces leading society. The sense of doom is palpable. Guest singer Cassandra Schorn aka DUFF joins Jon on the vocal work, the duo trading off back and forth throughout the song. It works really well, providing even more atmosphere to an already great tune. Lyrical focus is the malevolent hierarchy of society, and with lines like “they’ve tainted your brain from the very first day”, it’s a clear reference to the social conditioning that is impossible not to witness. Armageddon is the second brand new one, and is much more typical of the crust we’ve come to expect from MISERY. Some of the guitar riffs are very reminiscent of the song Just Never Ends. The song builds from lyrical ideas laid out by the one before it, but becomes more specific in relation to the social control of religion. The drums (especially the tom fills) are amazing on this tune.
The middle of this record features 2 songs from the first recording session in 1988, back when they were a 5-piece. Midnight features Al Long, for the first time on a MISERY song since he left to work with NAUSEA. Just like the original, the music is slow and doomsy as all hell. It’s clear that the band worked some new ideas into the mix, which gives the song an updated feel to it. In all reality, things are just as bleak as they were back then, but instead of worrying about atomic warfare, we now must face the looming doom of enslavement of the human species. Side B opens with New Year’s, another song originally recorded during the same session as Midnight, but which never made it to record until 1996. Originally sung by Al, Gags takes over the vox and MISERY make it their own. They do a damn good job, and just like Midnight, the song is different and yet the same, with better studio techniques this time around.
The last 2 songs are covers originally recorded by bands that were influential to MISERY. First up is a cover of Lifeline by SACRILEGE. Album closer is 3rd From the Sun, originally done by CHROME, and is the other song to feature the band as a 5-piece. Gary makes a great performance on the drum kit in this one.
Artwork & layout by Andy Lefton of WAR // PLAGUE, PROVOKED, etc.
Recorded at House Of Misery Studio 2012.
this EP-LP is highly recommended, and you should kick your own ass if you dont buy it!
INIMICAL RECORDS: http://www.inimical.com
Before anything, let me warn you that the SFH side of this split is called “Passion of the Crust”, so take that as you will. The title song sounds like a faster, more aggressive non-ska LEFTOVER CRACK tune, which makes sense if you know anything about their connection to SFH. The lyrics could have been ripped straight out of the LOC playbook, and… if you’re into them, you’ll be into this. Next up is a horrendous cover of “Media Person” by RUDIMENTARY PENI. Some may think that it’s a good, or even an original idea to do an RP song in shitty ska-punk style. Not me, though – I just think it’s terrible. The last song is back in the same vein as the first track (although thankfully with much better lyrics, dealing with American imperialism). The best part about this track was the fact that Diana Mayora from SKELPTARSIS does the second vocals, and I think she fucking rules. I really wish Sturgeon would have stuck to guitar only and let Diana take over. Final verdict – better than most STAR FUCKING HIPSTERS material, but still leaves much to be desired. At this point you know who this band is – you like ‘em or you don’t.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST take the B-side in a much better direction, sounding like a cross between the best of ‘90s east coast punk (PIST, AUS-ROTTEN, BROKEN) and ‘90s East Bay punk (GRIMPLE, FILTH) with a modern edge. Yeah, this is the shit! There is nothing cartoony about this band, they just bring straight-forward punk rage without any gimmicks or nonsense. I’m sad to say that this is the first time I’ve ever heard JFC, but after hearing their side of this split, I need to hear more! Their side is well worth the price of admission. Cheers! (Inbred)
Inimical: PO Box 2803, Seattle WA, 98111 / http://www.inimical.com