Misery Signals


Written by: TL on 18/11/2006 16:20:36

When a band loses its original founder who is also the vocalist, it is usually the kind of decisive blow that would make most people call it quits. This, however, is not the case with the American post hardcore outfit Misery Signals. After recording two albums, the frontman Jesse Zaraska decided that he wanted to focus on his sideproject Sleeping Girl, and the band came up with a survival plan. An instrumental track was composed and uploaded to the bands myspace account, and fans were invited to download and add their own lyrics to it, and then send it back as a form of online auditioning. By this very untraditional method, the remaining bandmembers came into contact with Karl Schubach whose vocals seemed to fit the bands' demands. He was added to the band, and "Mirrors" is the first album they've released together.

When Karls opening screams on "Face Yourself" hit you like a hammer, your first thoughts are bound to be "What? Did he used to sing in Norma Jean, or what just happened?". The resemblance is striking, and the same goes for a good part of that song. Brutal breakdowns and weird timesignatures, accompanied by the brutal onslaught of Karls voice. This is not a carbon copy of Norma Jean though, because even though Karls' vocal delivery is left pretty much unchanged throughout the album, the instrumental sound I just described only makes up for about half of the soundscape. Putting the post in post-hardcore are periods of strikingly melodic and atmospheric riffage, giving the listener some soothing room to breathe before the next batch of brutal breakdowns. If you've ever listened to Alexisonfire's "Watch Out", you'll have an idea of what dynamics are at play here, only heavier and with the exception, that Karl will still be screaming and shouting along the way, nevertheless without ruining the more pleasant impression these progressive parts create.

It's hard to put together an overall perception of the quality of this record. Listening to it, you'll have more than enough moments of thinking "wow, this is good stuff", but you wont get that feeling, that simply begs you to listen to it again. It's in the 'watering down' of the brutality that the band finds its identity on this record, but strangely, it is also where it loses some of its impact. I'm not saying I'd want the band to be more of a Norma Jean copy, I'm merely pointing out, that somewhere on this album, there's something elusive that's keeping it in the department of 'good, but not great'. You'll enjoy listening to it for a while, but it will hardly make its way into your record Hall of Fame.


Download: Face Yourself, The Failsafe, One Day I'll Stay Home
For the fans of: Norma Jean, Alexisonfire

Release Date: 22.08.2006
Ferret Records
Provided by Target ApS

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