Many extreme metal bands talk of combining grindcore and death metal with fragments of (old school) hardcore, but a paltry few do it better than MISERY INDEX. And we are not talking about metalcore by any stretch of the imagination. This is about death metal's technicality, grindcore's blinding brutality, and hardcore's unbridled aggression. It is a formula that MISERY INDEX has perfected. Right out of the chute, MISERY INDEX established a quality standard with 2001's "Overthrow" EP and continued to not only meet, but also exceed it with a series of splits, EPs, and full-length releases, including 2003 long-player "Retaliate" and 2004's much lauded "Dissent" EP (on the band's own Anarchos label). The tradition of excellence continues on the new "Discordia" full-length, the group's first for Relapse."Discordia" is everything you have come to expect from the Baltimore-D.C. death grinders, the album expertly incorporating slivers of progression with its patented ferocity. A truly collaborative approach to songwriting has clearly benefited the arrangements. Aside from Jason Netherton's engrossing political and social commentary on nine of the 10 tracks, each of the four members was involved in the songwriting. Whether it is "Unmarked Graves", "Breathing Pestilence", or "Meet Reality", the one constant is the stellar blend of ravenous groove and speed-driven savagery that results in the listener experiencing adrenal-pumping aggression and an equilibrium that will forever be knocked off kilter. And yet if you spend any time at all with the album you'll notice that just beneath the firestorm are diverse elements like (relatively) melodic chord progressions and the occasional arrangement-enhancing lead mixed in with everything from NAPALM DEATH to SUFFOCATION. The title track even features a slow, grinding tempo. While far from mellow, the song is far more atmospheric and measured than the speed assaults that occur on the other nine tracks. As for those who feared that no one would ever be able to fill Kevin Talley's (or Matt Byers' for that matter) shoes, rest assured that Adam Jarvis does so with ease. His mastery of the all-important blast beat and the manner in which he injects his percussive personality into each song is extraordinary. One only needs to read that he received a writing credit on each of these 10 tracks to understand his importance to the quartet. MISERY INDEX is a band that has earned its place among death/grind metal's elite. "Discordia" is proof of it. If you fancy yourself a fan of extreme metal and you haven't experienced MISERY INDEX, then I strongly advise you to get with the program.
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