Misery Index Rituals Of Power (Season Of Mist)

The evolution of Misery Index into one of the globe’s most vital death metal bands continues.

Rituals Of Power, the Baltimore act’s sixth album, takes aim at the fact twisters, the men and institutions who manipulate the truth for their own ends. And the quartet do it by drawing on all the anger and aggression they can muster – which, if songs like Hammering The Nails are anything to go by, is a hell of a lot.

I Disavow calls out the pied pipers who lead their followers down dark paths (“Posturing partisans who fuel this nightmare with their solipsistic bullshit”), while Decline and Fall stares hopelessly at the state of humankind (“Will I even care, once this world begins to burn?”).

Indeed, Rituals Of Power becomes more poignant every time you switch on a news channel or scroll through your Twitter feed.

And while Misery Index don’t have as much grind in their fuel pipes as they used to, there’s no doubting that their street-smart, proletarian assault owes much to that genre. Naysayer, for example, sees them sign off with a warpspeed blast-a-thon, complete with some spine jarring tempo changes, and there’s more than a whiff of Scandi d-beat to The Choir Invisible.

But it’s the explosive title track, a truly formidable piece of writing that fuses pinpoint ferocity with a profound sense of sorrow (the later passages being among the band’s most melodic work), that takes centre stage, followed closely by the bunker-busting carnage of New Salem – we’d challenge anyone to emerge unscathed from the pit when that tune detonates.

Another step forward, then, for Misery Index – a band who stare our grim political reality in the face… and spit straight at it.