From PROFANE EXISTENCE :
Of course, MISERY needs no introduction, having been prophesizing the end times while blasting our ears for the last 25 years now. 25 years and only three full-lengths. For many bands, after such a huge gap between releases (it’s been 9 years since their somewhat lacklustre splits with TOXIC NARCOTIC and PATH OF DESTRUCTION; 16 years since the now-legendary “Who’s the Fool… The Fool is Silence” LP), the original spark isn’t there anymore, or the band merely splits up. Thankfully, neither of these are the case with MISERY. In fact, it is safe to say that this is the best thing the band has recorded in their entire history, and this seems to be the start of a whole new exciting chapter for the band.
Recorded in their own studio on their own time, this record has been slowly taking shape over the last five years or so. I still remember the day when I was in Minneapolis hanging out and went over to the House of Misery to drink beers and watch the band practice. Before anyone else showed up, Jon played me a couple of tracks they had just recorded a couple days prior – the two earliest tracks recorded for this album. At that point, I knew that this was destined to become a classic record… if it ever came out.
The first of the two songs I heard was the opening track, “Mother Nature”. From the dark and apocalyptic introduction to the slow build-up with Gary’s tribal drums and the haunting sound of a crow in the background, this is the ultimate record-opener. When it kicks into full gear and we finally hear the buzzsaw guitars kick in, we know that this record is a force to be reckoned with. From this point onward, there is not a single let down on this record. MISERY have rejuvenated themselves after years of relative silence and real life bullshit getting in the way. The world is in a much worse spot than it was in 2003, and the songs reflect that. Unlike other “apocalyptic crust” bands out there, these songs aren’t just some abstract “epic” metal songs with a vague “end of the world” theme; nor are these clichéd empty slogans. From the mourning cry of “Mother Nature” and “Just Never Ends” to the matter-of-fact “Oil Age”; from the bleakness of the soldier’s tale “Ready Aim Fire” to the somewhat hopeful “All of Us” and all points between, the lyrics are just as top-notch as the songs themselves.
In addition to the brand-new originals, the band has re-recorded an older track of theirs, as they tend to do on their full-lengths. This time around, their Who’s the Fool… days are revisited with a brand new version of “God Squad”, which has always been a favorite of mine. Given these times of horrific religious fools popping up everywhere and affecting all sorts of policies, this is a more than appropriate song of theirs to revisit. Also appropriate for this release are the two songs they chose to cover – “The Hunt” by NEW MODEL ARMY, and “ICBM” by AMEBIX, respectively. If you know MISERY, then you know that these two songs are highly appropriate cover tracks (to say the least!)
When this originally came out as a download-only release last summer, I literally listened to it every day for a month. As important as the new AMEBIX record was, I was (and still am) much more excited by the brand new MISERY record – they have always stuck to their roots, and like a good wine, seem to get better with age. If you even remotely consider yourself a fucking punk, then you need this record. (Inbred)
From PUNK NEWS:
Apparently, if you’re an influential crust punk band, the thing to do is not release a full-length for about two decades, and then out of the blue, release your best album to date. From Where the Sun Never Shines, Misery’s first LP since 1994, follows this trend and then some.
Founders of what has become known as “Minneapolis Crust” Misery were one of the first American crust punk bands, blending together the energy of Discharge with the grimy smash of Motorhead and dark-hippiesh lyrics of Black Sabbath. While From Where the Sun Never Shines doesn’t introduce any radical new elements into the mixture, each piece is so perfectly whittled down to its essential parts and fitted with the others, it makes the album feel innovative, and if not that, then at least an exercise of precise craftsmanship.
Most noticeable is how much the album rocks. Most modern crust punk is so concerned with sounding heavy or evil or whatever that it sinks from music to a parade of nasty, lumbering sounds. Yet here, Misery teass through 14 tracks, a few of which are lengthy, with the energy (but not sound) of the Ramones. By keeping the energy level high and building a shell of thick, nasty barking over the top, the band forge an aggression that invigorates as opposed to wearing down the listener.
While the band fit punk and metal together well, they also perform the difficult (and often self-contradictory) feat of mixing together crust punk’s penchant for mysticism with modern politics. Unlike some of the UK counterparts, Misery does use a sort of mysticism, but leaves it up to the listener to determine if their prophetic callings are for real or just metaphors for modern problems. “Mother Nature” finds the band anthropomorphizing the earth itself with lyrics like “Mother nature! She’s crying! Mother nature, she’s dyingâ¦ she’s dead!” But, further, Misery points the finger straight at us with “We are not an intelligent being / Just parasites digging too deep.” But then, just as the band does exalt the higher sense, they pull it back down with the directly political “Iron Age” where the band forefully rebukes “It’s a fuel of filth which we use to survive/on the dead of past years which we’ve based our lives.”
Fittingly, the album’s end features a cover of Amebix’s “I.C.B.M.” It’s proper in that the whole album almost feels like the American take on that LP. The band rampage forward, maintaining a massive heaviness, all while mixing the political with the pagan. It’s too bad that it takes almost 20 years for albums like this to germinate, but if that’s the incubation time, let’s hope Mother Earth is prepping the seeds of another as we speak.
From OLD PUNKS NEVER DIE
Back with a bang after too many years, heavy crusters Misery return to show the young pups how it’s done.
Embracing the new audio world order, this is a download-only release. But that doesn’t mean getting lumbered with crappy bitrate mp3s. No, this one’s available in full studio glory FLAC. Burn it to CD and you’ve got exactly the same thing the boys heard at the mixdown.
And this really needs to be heard uncompressed. It’s a monster of a recording, made even more impressive by the fact that “the whole lot was recorded in the HOM [House Of Misery – OP] basement over a five year period by some pissheaded bastard that is far from a pro producer” (in the words of Jon Misery, who does himself a massive disservice). IMHO, it sets a new milestone in DIY and delivers an album that nicely expresses what the band are about and how they want to say it.
As you’d expect, there’s a clear Amebix influence on many of the tracks. But it’s no clone. Misery have taken the sound and then mutated it into their own creature. There are also clear nods to the early UK anarcho scene throughout, some gothy touches, and even a flavour of Blitz-style Oi! (albeit with added gravel) in parts.
Bass riffs are hammered home while the chugging and riffage are all-encompassing. The strings are fleshed out with some smart use of effects. For the most part, the drumming is pleasingly heavy, although I found the cymbals and hats to be a little too crashy and dominant at times. But that’s just me, I know that many others love that crasher percussion. Overall, the end result is a cavernously big sound that embraces the senses.
The apocalyptic lyrics are well-written and stand out from the over-simplified ‘war/oil/man bad, nature good’ style that’s overly common in this scene. They ask heavy questions and pose challenges to us all, but there are glimmers of hope within them, a recognition that we can take the power away from the fools and find it within ourselves too. The shared vocal delivery leaves no room to hide and makes sure the message is received loud and clear.
It’s nice to see them have a bit of fun too, with their own takes on New Model Army’s ‘The Hunt’ and Amebix’s ‘ICBM’. They do a top job on ’em.
This is a quality piece of work and, for only five quid ($8), should definitely find its way on to your hard drive at some point.
For people who also like: Bolt Thrower, Aus-Rotten, Instinct Of Survival