Miserist by MiseristRelease date: February 13, 2017
Label: Krucyator Productions
Released by French label Krucyator Productions, the anonymous Mr Miserist’s self-titled EP delves into the unbearable anguish of asylum life. Shifting between dark cinematic soundscapes and death metal driven guitar and blasts, Australia’s one-man band Miserist (also the moniker he personally goes by) proves an eclectic visionary of bringing torment to music in a rather unconventional way.
Here’s the thing. When you think about this kind of music you think about Gnaw Their Tongues. But this isn’t a Gnaw Their Tongues tribute. It’s far from that. Two entities worlds apart in style, but sharing an abhorrent world of human suffering. Miserist’s music isn’t balls out horrific like Mories’ Gnaw Their Tongues is, but it’s damn oppressive and uses a more subtle approach to its nightmares. Miserist showcase all the traits of its horrific story telling creating a dank, horrid, suffocating soundtrack utilising a more experimental, yet conventional style of death metal. No vocals. No theatrics. It’s stripped back to the bone metal made from a mind stuck in a dark place that does a great job of scaring the pants off you.
The beauty of this EP and the fact it has zero vocals and barely a glimpse of a sound bite allows you to enter as an open vessel for all its themes and miseries to pour into, giving you free range to guess what is what and what horrors lie ahead. Let each carefully crafted note or thumping beat carve its own memory into your flesh. What omens lie ahead are told within the music, or brought to vivid cruel life by simply closing your eyes and letting your imagination control your thoughts. Listener, create your own miserable story.
Opener ‘Skin, Mold and Flame’ gives you an immediate audible sense of vast suffering and longing, of staring down miles of empty corridors that lead only to a place called No Hope. Droning, despairing guitars cry out as a smattering of blast beats go wild inside your skull. This track is that shiver down your spine as you feel around in the darkness fearing a replying touch of cold flesh. Title track ‘Miserist’ wastes no time. The harshness and straightforward brutality describes perfectly the EPs antagonist, the Miserist. To me, the master of pain… whose ruthless agenda corrupts the once bright souls who inhabit here and inflicts the whip of despair over them. Low roaring guitars like the buzzing of deathly flies act as a halo for the Miserist as hell-firing blast beats assault. It’s a perfect death metal song with old-school chugging and Morbid Angel-esque fury, though it’s screaming for harsh vocals to layer the hatred. Track 3 is ‘VIII’. The average age of the institutes inhabitants. Its slow start maybe a metaphor for the weight of hopelessness. Or am I over analysing? This EP will do that to you, and this track will haunt you with just how young the agony of hopelessness can affect.
‘Horror Infinitum’ begins with the distorted sounds of a ghostly radio broadcast. Whilst content wise it’s out of place and not in the slightest bit scary, but if plunged into the atmospheres of a horror movie would conjure up a more disturbing image of inhabitants foaming at the mouth as the one thing that keeps them from slipping further into the depths of insanity crackles in the background, at least that’s how I see it… it’s up to you to create the version of fear you wish to exist inside your head. It’s an unorthodox song composed of strange chords with the staggered pounding of depressing drums. It keeps you guessing. Penultimate track ‘Lung Rust’ is another doozy of a song with avant-garde riffing and an old-school vibe running throughout. Miserist clearly knows how to convey emotions, through string-work especially as is evident in the blackened guitars that swarm in this track. Who or what ‘Narikuntu’ is I can only guess, but the EP’s final offering certainly serves as one big scary outro. The chilled-out trickery of its drawn-out introduction all set to the constant chirp of insects hints at something more sinister slithering through its 9 minute run time. By midway it grabs you by the throat with a sense of urgency and panic signalled by siren-like cries and screeching guitars all before cooling off with a reprise of its introduction.
A stunning debut from Miserist shows how emotive music can still be even without a vocalist at the helm, something I hear the band doesn’t intend on adding, though I am sure I’m not the only listener who wonders what things would be like with this addition even for a few furious songs. A full album is an exciting thought and one that can only be a sign of great things to come after hearing this brilliant but short taster of what Miserist can do when locked in a room with only despair as company. The inhuman nature of its themes is reflected in its music making it a faceless beast of an EP that puts the listener slap-bang in the midst of the situation, in darkness, in claustrophobia, in despair, where the only choices are abandon hope or persevere into the unknown. Night terrors and shivers all come packaged.