Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Church of Misery - "And Then There Were None" (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 04/03/2016
Label: Rise Above Records


Apart from the short, blissed-out instrumental “Suicide Journey” all of the songs here stick to the same classic formula, but the songwriting is tighter than ever, with every track hitting the spot particularly “Doctor Death” with its chillingly familiar snippets of UK news coverage of Harold Shipman.  Against the odds, Church of Misery have delivered their strongest album to date. Whatever fate throws at the band next, it’s clearly only going to make them stronger.  



“And Then There Were None” CD//LP track listing:

1. The Hell Benders
2. Make Them Die Slowly
3. Doctor Death
4. River Demon
5. Confessions of an Embittered Soul
6. Suicide Journey
7. Murderfreak Blues

The Review:

The years spent obsessing over serial killers have clearly taught Church of Misery something about cheating death.  The Tokyo riff cult seemed doomed following the departure of the entire band save bassist and musical mastermind Tatsu Mikami at the end of their 2014 European tour. Apparently this was nothing but a minor setback as Mikami soon found willing recruits to his murderous cause resulting in new album “And Then There Were None”.

The fact that little has changed musically this time around is testament to the power and clarity of Mikami’s artistic vision. He hasn’t surrounded himself with stagnant session musicians though as the band’s trademark doomed-out, Sabbath-worshipping boogie sounds fresher than ever. Dave Szulkin brings a fuzzier, bluesier quality to the guitar while Earthride’s Eric Little provides the necessary, powerhouse drumming. The biggest change from previous Church of Misery releases are the vocals provided by Scott Carlson of death-metallers Repulsion. Past albums have been graced with feral, aggressive snarls, channelling the savage nature of the songs’ depraved subjects. Carlson delivers these tales of terror with an almost punk sneer, the loss of aggression adequately compensated by increased lyrical clarity. This is particularly chilling when detailing the sickening acid bath details of John George Haigh’s exploits in “Make Them Die Slowly”.

Previous Church of Misery albums have suffered from an inability to capture the raw power of their live shows and a tendency to err on the repetitive side. The fact that “And Then There Were None” was rehearsed and recorded in two weeks has given it an urgency and energy missing in the past. Apart from the short, blissed-out instrumental “Suicide Journey” all of the songs here stick to the same classic formula, but the songwriting is tighter than ever. Every track hits the spot particularly “Doctor Death” with its chillingly familiar snippets of UK news coverage of Harold Shipman and the lumbering, Sleep-tinged groove of “Murderfreak Blues”.

Against the odds, Church of Misery have delivered their strongest album to date. Whatever fate throws at the band next, it’s clearly only going to make them stronger.

And Then There Were None” is available here



Band info: facebook

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