Jul 312012

(In this post, DGR reviews the absolutely blistering, chaotic new offering of death metal insanity from Sweden’s Miseration.)

For those of you not familiar with Miseration, this is one of Christian Älvestam’s many projects. For such a prominent vocalist, his list of endeavors is unsurprisingly lengthy, but Miseration have been going for a while as a death-metal-focused pet project between Älvestam and musician Jani Stefanović, who is responsible for the guitar work on this new album but previously also recorded the drums, bass, rhythm, and lead.

The band made a solid debut in the densely packed release Your Demons, Their Angels, but truly got people talking with the absolutely relentless slaughter of their 2009 album, The Mirroring Shadow. After that, the band seemed to have drifted in limbo for a time, but have now returned with a rebuilt lineup and their third release, Tragedy Has Spoken.

Stylistically, it serves to combine the two previous records, creating a longer and even more pressure-packed version of their music. It has the speed and almost ridiculous drumming of The Mirroring Shadow, while lengthening the songs to the more epic timestamps that filled out Your Demons, Their Angels. The songs are now more fully fleshed-out, whereas on The Mirroring Shadow they were a massive wall of blasts and guitars. It’s a different album than what has come before, but goddamn if it isn’t interesting — to say the least.

It’s more than interesting: When you fervently hope, as I have, that a band like this will capture people’s attentions, it’s great to hear Tragedy Has Spoken. You hear the music, and you hope that this will help inspire a newer generation, who (I hope) will take what they can from this insanity and eventually make kick-ass music of their own. All I can say is, man, it is nice to see Miseration putting out music again. Well, I can say more . . . Continue reading »

Mar 092012

It was just a matter of time. You can’t write about the kind of vicious, seething, anarchic, soul-rending noise that we cover here at NCS — stuff like shamisen rock, Lacuna Coil, The BadPiper, and BabyMetal — without The Man coming down on your ass eventually. I got an e-mail from the fucking FBI yesterday! And they weren’t writing to wish me a happy World Kidney Day either.

But they picked on the wrong fucking people. I gave ’em a piece of my mind, and I’m not talking about the piece that loves kitties and sleeps a lot. That’s our motto here at NCS — you get fucked, you fuck back . . . hard. And I’m fucking back with a new music video by Sweden’s AtomA, the latest band to be joined by Christian Älvestam as the vocalist. I believe this is the 1,623rd such band.

We’re not going to let the FBI try to fuck with us in private either. You have to expose this kind of heavy-handed bullshit for everyone to see, so the masses can rise up in solidarity and strike back like a big fucken rattlesnake that’s been roused from its slumber — give The Man a big dose of lethal venom! So, after the jump . . . the piece-of-shit e-mail I got from the FBI, my courageous response, and the AtomA video. Continue reading »

Feb 192012

Since leaving Scar Symmetry in 2008, Christian Älvestam has become a one-man cottage industry. Actually, it may be more accurate to say that he and Finnish multi-instrumentalist Jani Stefanović have operated as a two-man cottage industry. Their results have ranged from okay to superior.

Both of them have joined forces in three bands: Solution .45 (okay), Miseration (very good), and The Few Against Many (superior). It won’t surprise anyone to know that my highly subjective one-word quality rankings increase in exuberance in direct relationship to the changing extremity of the music.

Solution .45’s last album, For Aeons Past (2010), is the closest of the three to the soundscape of Scar Symmetry — lyrical, melodic, slower-paced than the works of the other two bands, and featuring a roughly even mix of clean and harsh vocals. I gave it an “okay” rating simply because those aren’t the qualities I’m usually after.

Miseration, on the other hand, is almost dead center in my sweet spot. I reviewed the last album, The Mirroring Shadow (2010), here. I didn’t think it was ground-breaking, mold-shattering work, but I sure as hell enjoyed its marriage of big, fast, vicious, technical death metal, clawing tremolo-picked guitars, heavy groove, and razor-sharp production. Foregoing any semblance of clean singing, Älvestam instead gave his magnificent harsh vocals an album-length workout.

What I didn’t know about until yesterday (thanks to an e-mail from TheMadIsraeli) was the third post-Scar Symmetry project that Älvestam, Stefanović, and their bandmates have cooked up — The Few Against Many. For reasons I’ll explain after the jump, it’s the cream of the crop.

Now here’s what gives this recap some currency: As I learned from poking around Facebook yesterday, Älvestam and Stefanović are either writing or beginning to record new albums for all three bands, more or less at the same time! Continue reading »

Feb 242010

Miseration‘s new album, The Mirroring Shadow, is not at all what we were expecting — but it’s a most welcome surprise.

Our expectations were based on the band’s first album, 2007’s Your Demons – Their Angels. That album was a particularly melodic rendering of melodic death metal, marked by the same mixture of clean singing and harsh growling that vocalist Christian Älvestam brought to his former band, Scar Symmetry. In fact, the similarities to Scar Symmetry were far more dominant than the differences.

That wasn’t a bad thing (cuz we liked the old Scar Symmetry just fine), but it seemed to us that Älvestam’s partnership in Miseration with guitarist/drummer Jani Stefanovic had become less a catalyst for change than a vehicle for continuing on with the songwriting style and musical sound of the band Älvestam had just left.

But on The Mirroring Shadow, Miseration has become a different breed of cat altogether. And we mean something like a prehistoric sabretooth — big, fast, powerful, vicious, and with teeth the size of carving knives. (more after the jump, including songs to hear and a digression about album artwork. . .) Continue reading »