Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Miseration - Your Demons Their Angels CD Review

It’s hard to believe that this CD was recorded at the end of 2006, nearly 2 years ago, because it is very much in tune with the current death metal environment. Despite the length of time that has passed since then, Lifeforce Records is just now bringing Your Demons – Their Angels to Europe and the states. Miseration isn't just another melodeath group, but are instead a “supergroup” of sorts, consisting of only Jani Stefanovic of Divinefire and Christian Älvestam of Scar Symmetry. Jani plays all of the instruments while Christian is responsible for the vocal work, and despite having only two members in the recording studio, this album feels huge, no doubt in part to precise mixing, expert production, and the raw talent of both members of the band.

Obviously the first thing you’ll notice is the similarities to Christian’s other band, Scar Symmetry. Vocally, Christian sticks to his growling for the majority of the album, using melodic vocals very sparingly. This comes in stark contrast to Holographic Universe where he let his melodic vocals take center stage on a number of songs. Even with the limited use of his melodic vocals, you never find yourself yearning to hear more of them. Instead, the variations on his growling and guttural approaches provide each song with an identity of its own, but that’s not only his doing.

Jani, who is responsible for all of the instruments, shows off exactly how multi-talented he is. Drawing on strong influences from Scar Symmetry, Dark Tranquility, and heavier Opeth, Jani proves he can do it all. Now you all know exactly the type of melodic death metal that Miseration and the aforementioned bands play, so it would be a bold faced lie to say that somehow Jani and Christian have done something ground breaking and new, but it would not be a lie to say that they aren’t completely on top of their game.

There may only be nine tracks on the album, but each one is a solid slab of melodeath. There is your prerequisite long, brooding intro into pummeling, yet melodic, headbanger “World Lethality”. Then you have the extremely diverse track, “Chain-Work Soul”, which shifts gears from mid-paced melodic chorus to double bass pounding verse progressions. The closing track, “Scattering the Few”, is one of the more straight forward death metal songs and has a competently short and shred-worthy solo placed nicely in the middle. Oh, and don’t forget the album’s opener, “Thrones”, which is quite easily the most menacing track of the album. The buzzsaw riffs and precision drumming drive this song right through your skull.

Not too bad for a two man band, is it? Or for a side project either, eh? This is definitely one of the essential melodic death metal releases to hit the shelves this year. Crafting a melodeath album that goes beyond simply touching upon clichés is somewhat rare today. True, Miseration don’t completely sidestep delving into cliché-ridden territory, but when they do, they at least do it very competently.

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