Misery Index - _Traitors_
(Relapse, 2008)
by: Daniel Cairns (8.5 out of 10)
_Traitors_ is probably the angriest, least subtle album you'll hear all year. Sure, there are bands that are heavier and faster, but none of them seem to have the sheer ire that Misery Index display on this latest release.

If you're unfamiliar, Misery Index are a hardcore tinged death metal band. Wait! Come back! We aren't talking about some pinch-harmonic, breakdown obsessed goons here. Misery Index are the real deal, and get away with splicing the genres simply by being so bloody good at it. They sound like a bastard amalgamation of Black Flag and Slayer with roaring death metal vocals.

The album kicks off with an intro track called "We Never Come in Peace" (an apt statement of intent if ever there was one) before segueing seamlessly into _Theocracy_. It's a stonking opening salvo, and if it doesn't get your metal glands frothing, you're dead inside. From then on, the album refuses to slow down for its thirty five minutes. There's no room for prog-metal nonsense here. It's full on, blood and guts aural violence that sneers in the face of such self indulgence.

That's what makes this band so refreshing. In an age where many prominent extreme metal bands feel the need to experiment with atmospherics or elaborate song structures to appear intelligent and artsy, Misery Index belch a defiant 'bollocks' and concentrate on making a no frills statement of fuck you aggression.

The anger and relative simplicity of the music makes more sense when paired with the band's lyrical content, which is overtly socially political. Don't worry, we aren't talking about Rage Against the Machine style sloganeering nonsense here, and it never gets in the way of the music; but if sexy blonde neo-fascist Ann Coulter were to hear _Traitors_, she'd probably combust and explode in a mess of guts and intolerance (one can only hope).

Obviously it's not all perfect. It's not what you'd call a dynamic record, save for the odd moment of melody. Therefore, the proceedings can be a bit tiresome should you not be in the mood. Though its simplicity is mostly bracing, some of it manages to sound like Chimaira (a much better heavier variation of Chimaira, but you know, guilty by association, etc.).

Yet these are but little niggles in a smorgasbord of violent hardcore excellence. If you're hankering for some straight ahead bludgeoning noise that isn't filled with gore or self hatred, _Traitors_ is an essential listen. Down with Thatcher!

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/miseryindex

(article published 15/3/2009)

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