As much as anticipation, there was plenty of extra intrigue involved leading to the release of And Then There Were None, the new album from Church of Misery. The sixth full-length from the Japan bred band, it is also the first since bassist and mastermind Tatsu Mikami was forced to assemble a new line-up a year after the unleashing of the 2013 album, Thy Kingdom Scum. It was an obstacle which has seemingly made little difference to the band as in And Then There Were None they have come up with one ferociously compelling provocation.
Another reason for that intrigue was that Mikami has linked up with musicians outside of his homeland for the first time; enlisting Blood Farmers guitarist Dave Szulkin, Earthride drummer Eric Little (ex-Internal Void) and Repulsion frontman (and former Cathedral bassist) Scott Carlson on vocals. It is easy to assume this was a challenge in itself in the creation of the album due to distances between members and indeed the bassist when talking about the album admitted, “It was a challenge because there was not much time to make this record—only two weeks,” going on to add, “One week for rehearsals and then one week to record all materials.” With Carlson providing vocals for an album for the first time in almost 30 years, it seems like it was a project pushing each member to their creative edge; an essence which has gone so me way to giving an extra spark and bite to the “blood-soaked trip through homicidal hell.”
Fuelled by the tales and bloody mayhem of killers both infamous and obscure, And Then There Were None opens up with The Hell Benders. Emerging from a viscerally sanguineous opening, funk spiced melodies quickly seduce the imagination as nagging rhythms rap the senses. It is a mellow and tantalising entrance which is soon spilling suggestively sultry grooves and incisive beats as Carlson’s growling delivery mixes it with the sweltering climate of doom/sludge bred heavy rock ‘n’ roll. The intoxicating invention of the guitars is invasive yet at times provides a mesmeric lure for a perpetually captivating frame to the barbarous lyrics with the bass of Mikami bridging the two with its heavily alluring tone and rapacious shadowing of voice and sonic enterprise.
The gripping start is reinforced by the almost carnal resourcefulness and snarling nature of Make Them Die Slowly. Riffs immediately provide a tasty intrusion, seeming to relish their antagonistic presence within a web of sinister yet seductive grooves. With vocals across the band stalking the imagination too, the track reveals a punk infused attitude to its Crowbar meets High on Fire meets Earthride like trespass.
Doctor Death prowls ears and imagination next, inspiration coming from British killer Harold Shipman. As thoughts are reminded and provoked, guitars again spread a lattice of juicily enticing grooves aligned to forceful rhythms as Carlson shares the insidious deeds. Enthralling and increasingly irresistible, the sonically humid track makes way for the funkier revelry of River Demon, where bass and drums go on a rampage of addictive and incendiary rhythms. A slab of volatile and bruising groove bound devilment which enslaves appetite and energies from start to finish, the track is a vampiric treat leaving the body and senses exhausted with its blues soaked punk ‘n’ roll.
Through the muggier sonic climate of Confessions Of An Embittered Soul and southern soaked Suicide Journey, the album reveals more varied hues to colour its melodically toxic and addictive body. The first of the two has the imagination wound around its creeping grooves, they in turn winding around the senses as Carlson shares the song’s hellacious contents. In contrast, its brief successor is a warmer if sinister wash of mellow sound and intensity but a match in igniting the imagination and pushing it to explore its own interpretative adventure.
Bringing the album to a close is Murderfreak Blues, a song which crushes the senses yet within a breath or two becomes a stalking, seducing, and ravishing provocation of their weaknesses as, unsurprisingly, psyche twisting grooves and demanding rhythms leave, through murderous traits, their own lingering and welcome marks.
It is a mighty end to an album which grows with every listen, managing to seem even more antagonistic each time as it impresses in sound and craft. And Then There Were None is a blood encrusted groove fest and very easy to recommend.
And Then There Were None is out now via Rise Above Records @ http://www.riseaboverecords.com/shop/
Pete RingMaster 07/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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