March 4, 2019 Misery Index – Rituals Of Power (Album Review)
Death Metal is alive and well in many forms in the 21st century. Of the many bands out there, one who has helped carry that torch with great fortitude, adding a multitude of Grind elements along the way, has been Misery Index. A Maryland based quartet which began their rise into a more popular light in the early 2000s, they are now almost twenty years into the game. Now, they are set to release their sixth overall studio album, Rituals of Power, on Friday, March 8th via Season Of Mist.
Their first LP since 2014’s The Killing Gods, with Ritual of Power, Misery Index step up to the competition, making the latest effort potential their best to date. That bold statement made, Rituals of Power is right on par with where they left off. It has a hyped up aggression and concept of truth dipped in some of the most vindictive lies, assuring no dissatisfaction. Spanning only slightly over thirty-five minutes in-length, with an album of such a Grindcore nature, more is not necessary or expected, and Ritual of Power fully encompasses the journey Misery Index set out to have while not over compensating.
Complete with perfect Death-blended vocals and bass from Jason Netherton, Grind-inducing guitar work from Mark Kloeppel, fierce lead guitars of Darin Morris, and killer creative off-beat drumming from Adam Jarvis, the album starts out with a short and poignantly phenomenal track, “Universal Untruths.” An intense beginning right off the bat, Netherton’s ability to combine harsh and clean vocals shines as the brutal tones comes across with understandable lyrics. Following this grand introduction is a more lengthy “Decline And Fall,” which is another fast, fundamental Grindcore, Death jam with catchy riffs and vocals throughout.
Next, “The Choir Invisible” is another lengthy tune with plenty of adventures in Grindcore supporting the fiercely fast message. Then, dishing out another freshly angst-ridden track, “New Salem” features some technically brutal guitar solos ending in some of the harshest vocal ranges on the album. Later on, the title-track is found midway through and is every bit as worthy as the title proclaims. It is always interesting to note where a title-track falls on an album, and this one seems to be appropriately placed, executing a slower paced tune.
Moving toward the end, Ritual of Power is brought to a close with a couple of fast and furious grinds, “I Disavow” and “Naysayer” – both would blow the crowd away with their heaviness alone in a live set. As well-crafted as can be, at speed demon pace, they pack that necessary brutal punch to conclude an album of this ilk.
As alluded to, the special qualities of Misery Index lay in their masterful vocals and instrumental ability that combine Death and Grind styles in such a way that one is not over powering the other. It is like the perfect blend of coffee on a cold snowy morning, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives Rituals of Power 4.5 out of 5 stars.