(This is Todd Manning’s review of the debut EP by Australia’s mysterious Miserist.)
A new year is upon us and there’s no reason to believe we’re not just one more step closer to the carnivorous abyss. No wonder extreme music just gets nastier and more oppressive, the most recent torchbearers coming in the form of the Australian mystery collective Miserist. This self-titled debut EP is a cavern-borne Death/Industrial hybrid, and strangely, considering the style, entirely instrumental. This one facet proves to be most compelling, coming across as a strange absence at first, but then as an abstraction upon repeated listens. The more one listens, the more this one facet opens itself up to speculation about the thought process behind the decision.
For the most part, Miserist alternate between devastating yet obscure slabs of blast-beat-driven Death Metal, often reminiscent of the mighty Portal, and more mid-paced Industrial-fueled sludge. Without vocals, the music becomes both inhuman and weightless; even the most straightforward riffs become atmospheric. And there is a layer of grime and filth overlaying the whole affair as well. The listener is invited to imagine all sorts of post-apocalyptic futures stimulated by their assault.
Yes, of course, it’s just an arbitrary date, one that has no intrinsic meaning. The arrow of time moves inexorably forward, the segmentation of its path into old years and new ones solely our own creation, one more effort to impose some kind of communal order on chaos. The effort fails, but as an occasion for remembering good times and bad, and perhaps kindling hope for a better tomorrow, the clicking of the clock past midnight tonight serves a laudable purpose. Even as simply an excuse for a cathartic blowout, it’s a good thing, if that’s your thing.
The calendar will flip over, but I’ll just keep writing as if nothing is about to change. Why the hell not? I have a lot of new songs and videos I’ve discovered over the last 48 hours. I’ve collected a few of them — the result of hard choices — and will make some of them the subject of this last NCS post of 2016, and the rest the subject of our first post of 2017 tomorrow.
Happy Fucking New Year to all of you from all of us. My resolution, over which I have no control, is to be here with you one year from today, saying the same damned thing.