Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Misery Signals - Controller (2008)

Misery Signals album 'Controller' is the best metalcore album ever recorded. I'm not exagerating and i'm not being biased, this is cold hard fact right here, and this blog is going to explain why.

Misery Signals is a Progressive Metalcore band. They use atypical time structures to give the rhythm a slightly awkward feel to it, and they do it perfectly. Back in another post I said that Minus the Bear had transcended Math Rock so that it sounded smooth and natural. Misery Signals is the Progressive Metalcore equivalent to that concept. If anyone ever asks me what 'Progressive Metalcore' means, I give them this album as an explanation. They are typical metalcore band in structure, two guitarists, a singer, a screamer, a bassist, and a drummer who seems to really enjoy using both his feet while playing. What sets them apart is how they use these pieces to make the greater whole. Let's start with the vocals, the lead vocals are a deep scream, almost a growl, that are perfectly articulate, you can understand every word, which is important, because Misery Signals LYRICS explain why Misery Signals is Misery Signals. From beginning to end this album is about internal conflict. The lyrics are all directed towards oneself. It's the narration of a man who hates his weakness and is desperately trying to overcome it. I think the opening song 'Nothing' sets the tone for the rest of the album with its last line: "Dear God! What have I let myself become!". There are instances of singing or backup screams throughout 'Controller', but they are few and far between, when they are used it's to portray a shift in emotion, from anger to desperation, or sometimes to serene calmness. But vocals are nothing if not backed up by fitting instrumentation, which is where Misery Signals truly shines. The Drums on this album are ridiculously good, and LOUD. If you don't 'get' what math based music is all about, listen to the drums on this album, they switch tempo and rhythm in a way that's noticeable but still sounds like a natural progression. A lot of Math bands either change tempo and rhythm so abrasively it sounds off putting or so subtly that you barely notice, but 'Controller' has found a happy medium. As amazing as the drum's are, Misery Signals two guitarists are what carry them from 'Amazing' to 'The Best'. One guitarist plays heavy (insanely heavy), riffs. He's so brutal he makes bands like Miss May I sound like Taylor Swift(Zing!). The second guitarist is there to add a layer of airy, melodic texture to accent the leads absolute brutality. While the rest of the band is pounding you into the dirt with their heaviness, guitarist number two sounds like he's playing off in the distance, or to keep with the theme of the album, he's like that small voice of in the back of your head you have when you're really, really, angry that's trying to tell you to listen to reason but you ignore it. It's volume and noticibility go up and down throughout the album, sometimes you can't hear it at all, sometimes it sounds level with the lead guitar, and sometimes, usually after a part that was particularly heavy, it takes center stage. It's like if you let out a huge surge of frustration and you punch a wall. After you do it you look at the hole you made, and you wish you had never lost control and broke it, because now you can't fix it. That is what 'Controller' is all about. Complex music backed by a complex message, this isn't something the typical Scene kid would appreciate, but being a metalcore band, and being from Canada, most of their US tours have been with really, really, shitty scene bands. No one wants to see Misery Signals open for Bring Me the Horizon, that's just depressing.

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