Church of Misery - _Houses of the Unholy_
(Rise Above Records, 2009)
by: Daniel Cairns (9 out of 10)
Well, it's late in the evening, inebriation has taken hold, and I cannot be buggered with a stupid convoluted opening for this review. So I'll just come straight out with it: _Houses of the Unholy_ is absolutely fucking awesome.

It's a dense, unrelenting, doomy boot to the fanny, and proves once again that Church of Misery are Japan's best import by a country mile. As much as I admire the likes of Boris and Corrupted, Church of Misery win mainly because they're capable of writing actual tunes, as opposed to waves of noise.

_Houses of the Unholy_ is simply big, loud misanthropic fun. As is their way, songs are about serial killers, creepy samples are abundant, riffs are loud and drums bludgeon. It's even better than their last opus _Master of Brutality_, which itself was an exercise in abject excellence. It's the perfect kind of music to listen to if you're living in a cabin in the woods on your own, stoned out of your puss, preying upon backpackers and dragging them back to your home for tea, biscuits and torture.

This record has the same nasty, detuned fugged out malevolence that drifts through all the best modern doom albums, and as such is worthy of your attention. There's no progressive fucking about here. It's riff after riff after riff, and to my ears it outguns even the mighty High on Fire. Yup, it's that good.

As with their last record, pretty much every tune is about serial murderers. I'd try and detail some lyrics, but I couldn't hear them, because you know, the music's really fucking loud. But when you have songs with titles as excellent as "Shotgun Boogie", you don't really need to know what they're singing about, do you? It's pretty safe to assume they aren't talking about taking a girl to the beach, unless they're about to brain her with a rock or something.

It's never going to win points for originality, but when you're playing music this good, it doesn't matter. Doom is a genre that doesn't need to progress or reinvent itself every few years, depending on the regressive whims of fashion. When the screamocrunkers and metalcore wastrels of the world have died out and subjected themselves to the pain of their inevitable admin jobs, bands like Church of Misery will plough on regardless, because at the end of the day, there is nothing in the world that beats a killer riff.

Right, this is the third album I've reviewed in succession that's scored 9 out of 10 or more. Bands had better start being shit again, or I'm going to look all positive and happy, and Church of Misery wouldn't want that, would they?


(article published 29/5/2009)

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