(TheMadIsraeli reviews the just-released new album by Misery Signals.)
Misery Signals are an often underrated and even oft-forgotten tidal wave of force within the metalcore realm. These guys practically (in my estimation) put technical/progressive metalcore on the map as a “thing” and really set a standard with their debut, close to the genre’s stagnation point — the standard being that you had to do what Misery Signals did, or no one was going to give two fucks about your two-step teeny-bopper crooning. As evidence of this, so many of the metalcore bands who have survived have been ones who took pages from the Misery Signals playbook. I would even say that many bands in the so-called “tech metal” UK scene (rightfully criticized by my co-writer Andy Synn) owe as much to this band — except Misery Signals left out the bullshit choruses that pine for commercial adoration and they have a much more refined sense of technicality, both in performance skill and as songwriters.
I say all this because despite how significant this band is, they are criminally dismissed all too often. Absent Light is the band’s latest opus, completely funded from an unexpectedly insanely successful Indiegogo campaign, and it shows the band at their most mature, most morose, most technical, and most intense, all at once. And that’s the thing about Misery Signals, as opposed to other bands who’ve tried to copy them: They have intensity, a passion that floods every part of their music. The technicality and chaos aren’t there for the sake of it; they convey the sincerity that these guys have always had behind their material.
Absent Light is really fucking heavy. Even when the band are engaging in some of the lighter maturations of their sound (the album makes constant references to prog and post-rock) and aren’t beating you to a pulp, they are only ever building up to it. Their constant use of thrashy rhythms, jazzy, proggy, rich chord progressions and a taste for melody that resides in a weird limbo between introspective and dissonant/depressive drag results in an album that is quite varied, not just song to song but section to section within every song.