Miseration
Your Demons, Their Angels

I’ve come to the conclusion that melodic death metal is not dead – far from it. Yes, it is extremely over-saturated, what with everyone and their brother doing some sort of Gothenburg inspired band, then you have to take into consideration all the American metalcore (and worldwide copycats) bands aping and raping the style, but I’ll be damned if there isn’t still plenty of worthwhile releases under the banner. It’s just like any other genre that gains recognition and popularity – you have to sift through waves and waves of garbage to find the gems, and when you do, it just makes it that much better. Now I realize that many out there immediately write a genre off as worthless, shitty, or (insert negative remark here) when it becomes too crowded, over exposed or popular, but to me, I’ve never understood this kind of mentality. It seems that these conditions would increase ones chance of discovering something really good, despite the huge amount of crap to sort through getting there. Rant mode off.

Miseration, the brainchild of Jani Stefanovic (Essence of Sorrow, Divinefire) and Christian Alvestam (ex-Scar Symmetry, Unmoored), is worthwhile melodic death metal. Shying away from the slower tempos and overly melodic style of latter day Gothenburg, Your Demons, Their Angels is an album chalk full of aggression and in your face heaviness, seemingly drawing equal parts influence from early Swedish and American death metal. From here, they combine said elements with a tad more melody, a few clean vocal injections, fat death metal grooves, and a sharp yet slightly raw modern production for devastating and memorable results.

Some would probably immediately dismiss Miseration as a Scar Symmetry clone, but when album opener “Thrones” kicks off, these thoughts should easily be negated – this is a much more vicious affair. A thick groove riff opens the track followed by a relentless double bass drum assault and Mr. Alvestam’s excellent growls, with some quick interjections of melody to vary the approach. The first instance of clean vocals pops up in the chorus of follow up track “Perfection Destroyed”, but is no less punishing than it’s prior. The riffs are still potent and pack punch, and drums still pummel – you can even hear some blasting here. To mix things up a bit, in “World Lethality” they start slow before bringing the hammer down, and Alvestam begins in clean mode, alternating between his two distinct styles. “Chain-Work Soul” is the closest the pair (yes Miseration are a full band, but Jani and Christian wrote and recorded everything) comes to Scar Symmetry territory, trading aggressive verses with slower, more melodic choruses where Alvestam serves up more of his amazing cleans to make this a ridiculously catchy tune. There’s more killer groove to be had in “Foul Invective”, which also houses some of the albums best guitar work. There are slight symphonic-like elements to be heard occasionally in “Noctivagant” and “Seven are the Sins”, the latter of which it helps to give it an epic sort of feel, despite it’s short length.

Don’t get it twisted – Your Demons, Their Angels is a death metal album, through and through, albeit one with melody and some clean vocals. Now I’d imagine some of you (purists) reading this would say “why ruin a perfectly good death metal album with the inclusion of clean vocals?” Christian Alvestam, that’s why. As far as I’m concerned, he has the best singing voice in metal, bar none – Halford, Dickinson and Owens, eat your heart out. I know that’s a bold statement, but it’s honestly how I feel. When you have a singing voice like that, it should be used, regardless of the genre, and here, I think it works extremely well.

As sort of a side note, Your Demons, Their Angels was originally released as far back as 2006 through King Records, again in 2007 through Rivel Records, but has recently (thankfully) been released worldwide through Lifeforce. Oh yes, this will be a top 10 entry for me when I compile my list in the coming weeks.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
December 7th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: ceno

    Awesome review of no less awesome album.


  2. Commented by: Vance

    Sounds awesome, even though Scar Symmetry is kind of sappy and ghey, I still love that band and totally agree about that dude having one of the best voices. I will have to check out this band, thanks for the review.


  3. Commented by: AARONIUS

    I recommended this one to Erik Thomas a while back. I don’t know if he checked it out or not.

    I’ve had the Rivel records release of this for over a year now, and it still slays.

    This is what melo-death should be. In Flames, Soilwork, please take note.


  4. Commented by: Staylow

    Thanks guys.

    Aaronius, I completely agree. Dimension Zero’s latest release is also a great melodeath album, and what I’ve described as what In Flames should sound like today. Awesome stuff.


  5. Commented by: mike

    This band could be huge, but with Christian’s 100 other bands, this project could fade away into obscurity…


  6. Commented by: Power_of_Sire

    Great review and right on point. This band is one of my favorites.


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