Jun 252014
 

(In this post we present BadWolf’s interview of Mark Kloeppel, frontman for Baltimore’s Misery Index, conducted live at Maryland Deathfest — with photos taken there by the talented Alyssa Lorenzon.)

One of the highlights of my trip to Maryland Deathfest was the opportunity to see Baltimore’s own Misery Index live twice in a single weekend. The No Clean Singing crew has a soft spot for relentless mixes of grindcore and death metal, and Misery Index are among the best bands in that vein at the moment—not only is their rhythmic attack, weighed down by bassist Jason Netherton (formerly of Dying Fetus) and drummer Adam Jarvis (also of Pig Destroyer), fierce in a way many of their peers are not, but their approach is also intellectual. The band has a strongly anarchist-liberal lyrical bent, which only adds to the vitriol and complexity of their music. It’s the kind of death metal that makes me want to revisit it over and over.

Mark Kloeppel joined the band in 2005, and plays guitar, as well as screams, on their finest run of albums. His vocals and melodic guitar lines dominate the band’s 2014 album, The Killing Gods, which made up much of their MDF set lists. It’s the most melodic album in the band’s discography, but Kloeppel himself seems less than harmonious. He sat down with me behind a tent in the blazing Baltimore sun to talk about the new album, parenting, and how, economically speaking, we all lose.

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It seems like there wasn’t a lot of activity on the Misery Index front for a couple years there. I remember Heirs to Thievery came out when? 2010? Four years ago?

Yeah. In 2010, the touring cycle started with us going out with Dying Fetus and then picking up our new lead guitar player. We did some other stuff… We toured with Grave. We did a whole bunch of stuff. It’s kind of hard to remember everywhere we went. I know we went to Indonesia, Japan, Australia, and a lot of places in South America like Brazil and Colombia. We did a tour with Cannibal Corpse in the States. That was the last thing I think we did in the States before this.

 

Why the recording gap? You guys were on a pretty steady two years per album clip for almost a decade.

Yeah, and that sucks! It’s like when you first start a band. When you first start a band, you spend a good five years crafting your very first songs. You go play shows, and it’s awesome because you’ve spent so much time crafting good songs and you grow and stuff like that. Being a seasoned musician and not being able to dedicate the proper amount of time to make a quality record, you feel like you’re being robbed. 

We stuck to the tight schedule that was imposed upon us by the label. It was kind of necessary to build the band for Discordia, Traitors, and Heirs to Thievery. After that, we were done with that schedule. We didn’t want Misery Index to do that anymore. We just spent the time you’re supposed to spend writing a record. 

 Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 

Hot off the presses, we present a brand new music video by Baltimore’s Misery Index for “The Calling”, from their most excellent 2014 album The Killing Gods. It’s a fast-cutting montage of black-and-white, close-up film of the band performing the song and B&W scenes from one or more old movies with occult themes.

As you will see, the imagery suits the song very well. It was assembled by director David Hall at Handshake Inc., and he has once again done a bang-up job. Continue reading »

May 152014
 

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Baltimore’s Misery Index.)

Misery Index have really come into their own over the course of their last couple of records.  Their transformation (for lack of a better term) from Dying Fetus-lite to a straight-up death metal titan all their own has been a pleasure for my ears, and has resulted in some of the finest death metal you can get your hands on nowadays.  I’ve always liked this brand of death metal (Man Must Die do something similar) — lots of grindcore, old school death metal riffage, hardcore groove, and the odd incorporation of melodic death metal, but with their own flavor, not to mention a taste for lyrical sociopolitical vitriol.  Of course, key early members of Misery Index were in Dying Fetus first, which had made a name as a musically excellent death metal band that addressed social issues with the anger and outrage they deserved.

The Killing Gods is the Misery Index standard-setter.  The song writing fat (what little fat there was) has been trimmed and the songs have been turned into efficient killing-machine Spartan warriors.  A toning down of the grindcore elements results in riffs that stick out more, quite a bit more melody has been introduced, and the central focus of this record seems to lean heavily on their particular brand of imperialistic might.  Misery Index have always had this quality, and it’s a vibe unique to them I think.  The “imperial vibe” has always been a Polish standard, but Misery Index never sound like they are copping the Polish sound.  Something is distinctly American, distinctly ruthless, about the majesty presented on The Killing Gods.  This truly is the definitive Misery Index record. Continue reading »

May 132014
 

The new Misery Index album, The Killing Gods, is now exclusively available for streaming at another web site. We just got our promo of the album today, so you’ll be hearing it right along with us. The fact that you can hear it all right now will not stop us from reviewing it, because if the rest of the album is as good as the individual songs that have already debuted, it’s going to be one of 2014’s true monsters.

But really, you should hear it for yourselves as soon as possible. The album comes out via Season of Mist on May 23. Listen here: Continue reading »

Apr 012014
 

Here we have another round-up of new music to recommend for your aural pleasure. I’m splitting this quintet with one of our other writers, Austin Weber. I’m introducing the first three items, and he’s got the other two after that. Here we go:

PUTERAEON

I’ve massively enjoyed this Swedish death metal band’s last two albums, The Esoteric Order (2011) (reviewed here) and Cult Cthulhu (2012) (which I miserably failed to review). They’ve now completed another Lovecraftian-inspired album entitled The Crawling Chaos, which will be released by Cyclone Empire on April 25 and features chilling cover art by Christoffer Fredriksson. The band recently released an official video for the album’s third track, “Path To Oblivion”, and I caught up with that today. You should catch up with it, too.

The music is like a hard-charging phalanx of ghouls and golems, a ghastly and galvanizing gallop of gore-strewn gruesomeness. The crypt door has been flung wide open, and all manner of unholy, undead things are coming for your teeth. Continue reading »

Mar 122014
 

As previously reported: Season of Mist will release the fifth album by Misery Index on May 27 in NorthAm and May 23 elsewhere. The title is The Killing Gods, which in the case of this band is kind of like making it a self-titled release. It was recorded with Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer). As you can see, I found the very cool cover art for the album today, too (conjured by Gary Ronaldson).

Today Lambgoat premiered the first advance track from the album, entitled “Conjuring the Cull”. My initial impressions:  Goddamn, motherfucker, those opening riffs are headbang dynamite! Fuckin’ snare tone! Such a grisly serpentine lead guitar! So infectious! So evil! Such beef! Such slithery soloing! Why are my pants wet?

The song is an exclusive premiere and therefore not embeddable without being devious, so run over to this location and fill your ears. The album can be pre-ordered here from Season of Mist. Here’s what the cover of the gatefold LP looks like: Continue reading »

Feb 262014
 

Although the dreaded day job is impinging on my precious blog time for the next couple of days, I did have time last night and this morning for a fast breaststroke through the fetid waters of the interhole and the NCS inbox. When I came up for air, I had managed to snag some items of interest — so many, in fact, that I’ve divided them into two posts, this one being the first.

MISERY INDEX

According to a press release from Season of Mist, Misery Index (above) have finished recording their fifth album, which will be named The Killing Gods. It was recorded at Visceral Sound Studios with Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer). It will be released on May 27 in NorthAm (May 23 everywhere else, because… I don’t know why everywhere else gets it sooner). The album art has been finished, but it’s not yet available for public consumption.

“Highly anticipated” — I think that’s the appropriate cliched label for this album. In other words, I am high with anticipation. And anyone else who’s a fan of grindcore and/or death metal ought to be, too. Let’s have a little taste from their last studio album, shall we? Continue reading »

Dec 122012
 

This has proven to be an interesting morning for news. Here’s what I saw that made an impression. There’s some music at the end, too.

ALL SHALL PERISH –> OBLIVION

All Shall Perish were one of the originators of the deathcore genre, and in this writer’s humble opinion they remain one of the best bands to be found in that now-thoroughly-saturated space. This morning, All Shall Perish guitarist Ben Orum announced that he is leaving the band. As he explained in a statement I saw on Facebook, his responsibilities to his family have made it too difficult for him to continue touring.

But although he is withdrawing from All Shall Perish, Orum further announced that he is joining a band of whom we at NCS have become quite fond: Oblivion. The connection that led to this new partnership is an interesting one. As Ben Orum explained in his statement:

While I am done with touring, I will never stop writing music. I am joining the extreme metal band OBLIVION as a bassist and contributing songwriter. OBLIVION’s debut album will be released on January 1st, 2013. We are beyond excited to unleash it onto the metal world. I’ve always been into death metal and extreme music, this is my return to TRUE Death Metal. What makes OBLIVION unique and sets us apart from the pack is the fact that our primary songwriter is a world-renown classical composer and professor of music, Dr. Nick Vasallo. His voice gives the music a subtle refinement with the craftsmanship of the compositions. Continue reading »

Sep 112012
 

The PRP and Lambgoat have reported this morning that Cannibal Corpse, Misery Index, Hour of Penance, and Deeds of Flesh will be embarking on a continuation of THE U.S. TORTURE TOUR this fall. There has not yet been an official announcement, though one is expected soon. UPDATE: There has now been an official announcement by Cannibal Corpse, and here is a complete schedule:

11/16 Huntsville, AL Crossroads Music Hall
11/17 Little Rock, AR Juanitas
11/18 Springfield, MO Outland Ballroom
11/19 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theater
11/20 Eau Claire, WI House Of Rock
11/21 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
11/23 Flint, MI The Machine Shop
11/24 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls
11/25 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
11/27 Providence, RI The Met
11/28 New York, NY Rocks Off Concert Cruise aboard The Harbor Lights*
11/29 Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock
11/30 Asbury Park, NJ Stone Pony
12/01 Washington, DC Rock N Roll Hotel
12/03 Louisville, KY Headliners
12/04 Spartanburg, SC Ground Zero
12/06 Miami, FL Grand Central
12/07 Tampa, FL Brass Mug

*Show will not feature Hour of Penance

There will be maiming and killing and the consumption of human flesh and the picking of teeth with bone splinters. It’s nice to see that whoever organized this tour chose not to dilute the brutality by mixing and matching the genre styles. It’s just going to be 100% death metal hell.

We’ll fill in more details when we learn them.

Oh, and one more piece of titillating Hour of Penance news has surfaced. Continue reading »

Feb 022012
 

(DemiGodRaven wants to spread the word about a free show on the other side of the continent . . .)

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys: I have never been to Baltimore. The closest I have ever gotten to the state of Maryland was when I flew to Georgia to watch my younger brother graduate from basic training. Maybe they’re on the same longitude lines, but that would literally be the only connection I have for travels on the East Coast.

So, I think it’s clear that I am not by any means a leading authority on anything having to do with Baltimore, MD. Outside of The Wire and the recent Ace Ventura-esque events with the local NFL football team (granted, it’s not like the team close to Hayward, CA, where I grew up, did any better), I have zero exposure to how the city is laid out. Thus, if this show actually is taking place in a Baltimore suburb (as when shows are announced for The Boardwalk in Sacramento, when the Boardwalk is actually in Orangevale), please do not jump my shit for it.

Misery Index announced via Facebook a few days back that they would be performing a free show with a group called Bet The Devil over at The Ottobar. The show happens on February 6, 2012, so…next Monday. If you need details there is an event page on Facebook to check out. I’m just trying to spread the word about a free show. Especially a free show where you get to see Misery Index, who put on a fucking great live show. I saw them in October 2010 and rocked out incredibly fucking hard during the whole set and in general had a blast. I have not heard Bet The Devil, so if anybody has and can put forth some impressions about them in the comments, that would be great. Really, help out any fellow East Coast folk who may make the journey to see the show.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »