Misery Signals - _Mirrors_
(Ferret Records, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (6.5 out of 10)
Back in 2004, Misery Signals' Devin Townsend-produced _Of Malice & Magnum Heart_ became one of the year's unsung gems, with its arresting combination of progressive metalcore aesthetics and thick, intricately layered ambience. Fast forward two years and the Wisconsin quintet are back. A distinctly throatier Karl Schubach has replaced Jesse Zaraska on vocals, and residing in Devin Townsend's producer's stool is the somewhat lesser-known Ben Schigel. Given the gruff pummelling of "Face Yourself", first impressions would also indicate that band have pulled back on their wall of sound approach, though venturing deeper into the record there's still plenty of it to be found, particularly toward its latter half.

To their credit, Misery Signals still retain a deft touch when it comes to employing melody, successfully avoiding many of the pitfalls and clichés that they could so easily have wallowed in otherwise. Yet for all the good it does, the band can't seem to resist indulging in self-effacing emo histrionics, ruining otherwise powerful songs. Add to that a frequently plodding tempo that drags, then outright grates, and you have a record that ultimately ends up being about the promise of what could be rather than concrete achievement.

Contact: http://www.miserysignals.net

(article published 5/10/2006)


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