Misery Signals – Controller
Release Date: July 22, 2008
Record Label: Ferret
It was the summer of 2006. It was probably a lazy, sweaty day in the Texas heat. It was so sweltering I didn’t even want to move, as my skin was stuck to my leather sofa. Faintly, I lifted a finger to double click on the then-new Misery Signals album, Mirrors, as I’ve just received it in the mail. 15 short seconds later, I was up and about, spin-kicking and floor-punching my way around the house, asking my mother where I left my bandana. It was evident to me then that Misery Signals were miracle workers. Hell, if they could lift me off my lazy ass, then they could do anything! I proceeded to write a glowing review for Mirrors, named it the best metalcore album of that year, and since then have played the crap out of it.
Seriously though, Mirrors was so damn good that I was incredibly nervous to hear their third album, Controller, for the first time. I love Mis Sigs, I had lofty expectations, as I perceive them to be one of the finest out in the genre, and if they could just write a solid follow up, I’d be sold. Thankfully, the Wisconsin quintet did just that and more.
Produced by Devin Townsend (who produced the bands debut album), Controller is chock full with 10 bone crushing tracks, as vocalist Karl Schubach proves he isn’t just a one-hit wonder with brutal growl. “Nothing” proves this right off the bat, with charged up riffs that hit you like a tidal wave, while “Weight Of The World” feels like the People’s Elbow hitting you square in the gut. One of the shortest songs Mis Sigs have ever recorded, it’s angry and features just enough angst with melody to keep it in line with what Mirrors constructed.
“Labyrinthian” has a soothing feel to it, as it builds up and guides you through the wreckage. One reoccurring element on the album is Branden Morgan’s fantastic drumming, absolutely superb, as it’s setting marks on the Richter scale. The first single, “A Certain Death,” fires off a round of heavy machinery, as it’ll put you into a Figure Four Leglock (wooooooooo!) and you’ll beg for mercy. “Ebb And Flow” is a bit gentler, with an atmospheric intro and Schubach singing before the gruff scream breaks through the glass and overtakes the track.
The final eleven minutes of the album are composed on the tracks “Reset” and “Homecoming.” “Reset” is relentless, hitting you over the end with huge double bass kicks and catchy group vocals. It outros ambiently into the closer, “Homecoming,” which fuses the metal with the melody like Mirrors did. Halfway though, this track will lull you to sleep before you are abruptly awaken by Schubach and company, ending Controller on a powerful note.
There is absolutely no way I can dislike this, as Misery Signals continues to improve and polish the sound they set forth on Mirrors. Controller matches its predecessor in terms of quality, as it flows seamlessly from start to finish and even gets experimental from time to time. Schubach’s vocals are just as good, and the each songs still feels like a kick to the scrotum. Yes, sometimes they can be over the top, but overall they are still very good, as he has refined his vocals a bit more. Controller sounds like a beautiful storm, as it knows when to hit hard and when to slow down, leaving the listener waiting for more. Might as well call it a three-peat, as Misery Signals continues their dynasty as one of the best metalcore acts today.
Of Malice and Magnum Heart was an amazing album. Mirrors was just ok compared to that, but maybe it's because I was into Jesse Zaraska's vocals and even earlier 7 Angels 7 Plagues. As for Controller, Schubach's vocals are layered just as Zaraska's were on their debut. This album is definitely up there with Shai Hulud's in terms of one of the best metal/hardcore albums of the year. But for some reason none of these songs will ever replace "The Year Summer Ended in June." Good review though.
A great hardcore/metal album for sure. It def. shows progression from Mirrors and makes me more anxious to see where it goes from here. So far they're only coming to Michigan fro Dirtfest, so I can't wait to see what they have lined up for touring this fall/winter! Gonna be br00tal im sure!
they've always been a band i want to get into, but never took the time to sit down and listen to. what do you suggest picking up first?
all of them are good, Of Malice features their old singer, Jesse, while Mirrors is the first album that has Karl on vocals. You could just start in order of how they were released (Of Malice, Mirrors, Controller), you can't go wrong either way.