misery signals 2013Misery Signals

Absent Light

01. A Glimmer of Hope
02. Luminary
03. Reborn (An Execution)
04. Carrier
05. Shadows and Depth
06. Lost Relics
07. Two Solitudes
08. Departure
09. The Shallows
10. Ursa Minor
11. Everything Will Rust

[Self-Released/Basick Records]

Simply put, Misery Signals’ newest effort is a superb album. A work in complexity that pushes many boundaries of the band’s sound, while retaining what has always been theirs. Vocalist Karl Schubach’s lyrics and delivery are as good, if not better than ever, and the Morgan brothers steal the show with their innovative guitar work and intricate drumming. Some fans of the band should be happy in knowing Absent Light is more like sophomore effort ‘Mirrors’ than 2008’s more progressive Controller, though others may be put off by the shift back to a less progressive, more intense writing style.

Coming off of one of the most successful IndieGo crowdfunding campaigns in metal, Misery Signals went all out. Thanks to that, Absent Light features a full live recorded string section present throughout the album, an inclusion that adds a considerable level of depth that they previously never had.  The production on Absent Light also shows the fruits of the fundraising. While not on the same level as Devin Townsend’s work with Controller, the album sounds great, save for the kick drum being a bit loud at times and a severe lack of low mids to fill everything out.

Production aside, the writing on Absent Light is stellar. The initial single from the album, ‘Luminary’, is a perfect example of the rest of the album, from the technical guitar work to the use of the string section, it sounds like something Born of Osiris would do with a more organic and hardcore approach to the composition. The instrumental break in ‘Two Solitudes’ is something straight out of Controller, with an added electro-drum part that adds nicely to the tone set by the section.  ‘Ursa Minor’ sounds like it could have been a track on Controller at times, but at other points having a level of intensity only present on Absent Light. A guest spot from Fredua Boakye of Bad Rabbits on closing song ‘Everything Will Rust’ couldn’t be more welcome by that point of this powerfully intense journey, offering a melodic twist not seen elsewhere on Absent Light, augmented by Karl’s backups and harmonies. Easily one of the most melodic and different songs for Misery Signals, it’s a work of perfection. Catchy, complex melodies intertwined with powerful guitar work and the combination of Schubach’s heartfelt vocal delivery and Boakye’s angelic cleans ending on a suspended fourth chord that makes you beg for a resolution that never comes.

Misery Signals have created an album that should be gracing many year end lists in 2013. An album that achieves a level of intensity that most bands could only wish to, while maintaining a sense of melody and blending the two in ways that turn heads. Absent Light really is everything fans of Misery Signals could have hoped for, and something that the band may not have been able to accomplish without the help of those fans, which they graciously thank in the liner notes. An excellently, intelligently mature opus that pushes metalcore to a level it has never achieved before, the Misery Signals lot should be proud of their work.

Misery Signals – Absent Light gets…


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