Misery Signals

Absent Light

Written by: MBC on 23/10/2013 21:12:29

It has been five years since the last album release from Misery Signals. After the release of "Controller" in 2008 followed by extensive touring, the band took a hiatus, with members focusing on side projects and other endeavours. In 2010 the band announced that they were starting work on a new album and July finally saw the release of "Absent Light", the band’s fourth album in total, financed through contributions from fans via Indiegogo and distributed through Basick Records. Misery Signals have a sound that is unmistakable in its presentation, yet they never create the same album twice, with each new release showing different aspects of their unique approach to song writing. The expectations to "Absent Light" have thus been high and have not been diminished by the five-year wait. Luckily, it is everything one could have hoped for and more.

The album starts off mellow with the melancholy guitar intro of "A Glimmer of Hope" reminiscent of the band’s more melodic songs on second album "Mirrors". After about a minute, the recognisable bellow of Karl Schubach kicks in, with his deep, powerful vocals soaring over the sound of the post-rock guitar work of Ryan Morgan and Greg Thomas. Next track "Luminary" combines crushing tech metal with orchestral string arrangements creating a dark and heavy atmosphere which continues on "Reborn (An Execution)" and throughout the rest of the album. A few songs in, Misery Signals have already established that the five-year wait has been well worth it.

Schubach’s delivery, although powerful, still is somewhat monotonous in that he seldom strays from his mid-to-low range roar. The band balances this issue by not over-using him and having long passages in which the superb instrumentation stands out on its own, as heard for instance in the prog rock tinged "Two Solitudes" and "The Shallows". Album closer "Everything Will Rust" has Schubach showing more aspects of his talent, switching back and forth between screaming and soft, melodic singing alá Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me).

The lyrics are pure poetry and need to be studied carefully along with the music which they accompany so well. Just listen to the first few lines of "Luminary": “Let shine the dimmest light. I barely see you through the fog that will not lift. Show yourself the way I knew you, with no fear of being pulled by the undertow into gaping holes. You were someone I believed in.” It is powerful, emotional stuff that fits perfectly with the dark, brooding atmosphere of the album.

Misery Signals’ eclectic approach to song writing with insane tech metal time signatures, straight forward hardcore and atmospheric rock and ambient is a challenge for the listener to grasp in one go. The songs of "Absent Light" flow so well together and the album really needs to be listened to in its entirety. After a few listens, the album starts to open up and one can delve into the dark, complex and unconventional universe to discover more great details with each listen. Noteworthy examples include the elegant contrasting switches between crushing tech metal riffs and soft A Perfect Circle-esque instrumentation of "Two Solitudes" or the very mellow minute and six seconds without vocals of "The Shallows".

"Absent Light" is unmistakably a Misery Signals album. It features the best elements of previous records as well as a new found energy, and it sounds like a band wanting to prove its relevance to the scene. It stands out as their darkest and heaviest record to date and is a must have for anyone into the past releases of the band as well as technical hardcore/metal in general.

Download: Luminary, Two Solitudes, Everything Will Rust
For The Fans Of: Elitist, Veil of Maya, Between the Buried and Me
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 23.07.2013

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