Sound — 10
Let me just get this out there before I go deep into describing the machinegun tight, extremely technical, epic, intense, fast paced, uniquely melodic playing style of Misery Signals. They are not a typical metal band in any way shape or form. Their progression has grown so far from when they started as a group of teens looking to do something different then the average metal core bands that they listened to at the time. They have become such a heavy force to be reckoned with and set the bar high for any other band trying to combine atmospheric, heavy, and melodic metal with out sending generic or to processed. Even through the progression and mixture of new sounds and ideas into the mix they still keep it raw and stick to there roots with complicated technical riffs and chug breakdowns that keep you head banging along for hours. The theme of this album is obviously just what the title of it says, yet it can be interpreted in many different ways to everyone. It sounds as if though the lead vocalist longs to keep control in a life that faces him with many challenges and situations that he doesn't want to be put in. Lead singer Karl Schubach has an extremely powerful, deep, monotone growl that melts over every riff with perfect ease and flow just intensifying the already heart pounding feeling you get from the dual riff guitars exploding in your face backed by the double bass filled, technical playing style of the drums. Even through the deep monotone vocals, pure emotion seeps through and sends chills down the spine as if every word is a cry for help or harsh command beckoning to keep some sort of control over his spiraling life that beats him down day by day. The sound of there guitars have always had a certain something about them that sets the apart but this album proves the originality and great amount of time put into every riff and lick by Ryan Morgan and Stu Ross. Examples of songs that show this the most would be Homecoming and Reset. This band does not follow normal song structure, like most progressive bands and that's why I really respect them. The jam pack so many riffs into one song yet it all flows so smoothly and still keeps suspense built before every breakdown and during every interlude. I don't know to much about drums but I do know that Branden Morgan has chops. With a jazz background and hardcore influences this drummer keeps every riff feeling so much more intense and compliments every chug and lick perfectly. Now to begin, this first track of this album Nothing is a very guitar oriented, fast paced, anthem track that has a quick and powerful dual guitar intro that kicks right in and then the second guitar fades out leaving with you with two seconds of silence and a disoriented guitar riff playing in your other ear. Before you know it Karl kicks right in with the first line As I reach out my hands to the sky it's in this moment that I've come to realize, I've played my part. About half way through the track Karl and Ryan (the lead guitarist) trade vocals back and forth as Karl growls, f I could find a cure, I'd cleanse myself of all I know. Followed by an intense, high pitched scream by Ryan shouting, Cut the cord, bring the plague, start again, start again. That for me, is easily the climax of the song as it slowly fades into a suspenseful slow paced breakdown. The second track of this record Weight Of The World has to be the most thrash, fast song that they have ever put out. I could not think of a better song to follow the first track. There's no beating around the bush with this song, it's straight forward and in your face right of the bat and it keeps up that mentality through the whole song. This song is really the only song besides Labyrinthian that follows basic strong structure with a chorus and riffs that repeat themselves. This song has such a strong energetic flow that keeps you foot tapping through the whole song with quick tempo'd trash beat that gives it a Poison The Well type feel to it. As the last chorus finishes both guitars dip into a low pinched squeal followed by the very anthem like repeated breakdown that shouts the perilous line Strapped to my back, I'll carry the weight of the world. Chained to my neck, I'll carry the weight of the world. Thus finishing a very promising, popular track by Misery Signals. Labyrinthain, the third song of this record is very easy to listen to, the guitar is never to harsh and it follows a nice easy strong structure to sing along with. This song has a certain groove to it that makes it very addicting along with a melodic flow from the guitars that give you a certain sense of bliss. I don't have to much to say about this song except for that fact that it has the most random and heavy breakdown right as the last chorus finishes up. It is completely unexpected and the first time you hear it you will replay it over and realize the epicenes of everything that breakdown is. It's so basic yet it's the perfect groove to throw your body around to and mosh to in a concert. Parallels would be the track of the album. At first listen I didn't think to much of this song. It has a very muddy, quick riff that seems fun to play but not always the best to listen to. Anyway about less then halfway through the song it breaks it to an interlude with a very intricate, beautiful melody that starts to pick up and seconds later it jumps you into a trash beats with the same melody played through out but on electric guitar that keeps you head rocking along and makes you clench your fist with power as the built interlude plays on. The song goes back into the riffs it was in before but it has a very random and beautiful twist at the end. Both guitars break into a slow, delayed filled, screeching guitar ending that is followed by a riff that that sounds like something I have never heard before. It's clean guitars and acoustic with very chill, jazz type drums with a bunch of delay that gives you the perfect feeling and has such a great groove to it that you can't help but want it to hold on for a few seconds more. Coma is the 5th track and has a very unique intro that is everything trademark Misery Signals all put into one beautiful intro. The song is very good and the second half of the song is all a jam with the main riff of the intro played electrically and the backing riff on acoustic. It ends with effects and both guitars on clean. A Certain Death is the 6th track of Controller and is filled with a sporadic playing style that switches between heavy chugs and melodic dual leads that harmonize together to create a very random and intriguing song. It has a very basic long breakdown before the chorus but the cool thing about it is that it switched keys lower and lower till it's opens then before you know it a very memorable chorus kicks in and secures any doubts of musical and melodic talent that this band contains. Set In Motion is such a perfect war type song so to say and has an almost battle charge feel to it that makes an epic feel just rush through your body right as the drums and vocals kick in. The end of this song is just one violent sounding, harsh, dark breakdown that gives no sign of hope or reprieve as Karl shouts Burn it down, burn it to the f--king ground. Ebb And Flow is the most melodic song they have that combines actual singing and screaming together to create a very nontraditional Misery Signals sound. The guitar in this song is personally my favorite, it's extremely intricate and has a unique feel to it that makes it so addicting. The ending is very epic between to the dual guitar fast picking a melodic, delayed, high pitched riff and the double going off in bursts which then break into straight kicks with Karl's voice beckoning Take me home, Take me Home. Reset is my personal favorite and such a damn good song. It shows of the extremely dynamic playing style that they have developed over the past few years and this song is honestly there best effort yet as a band. It starts off as one solid riff with accents from the second guitar and then soon after breaks into a quick jam by Ryan and Stu. Then next section breaks into strange, evil sounding chords that flow into a good chug riff and that repeats as Karl storms in with a bellowing line that sends chills down my spine. Slipping through my finger, out of my reach. This song has so many riffs in it yet it all flows so smoothly and aggressively grows more epic as it moves on. The chorus is very memorable as Ryan and Karl share vocals over a chugged melodic guitar riff. Right before the song flows into the interlude ending it changes between strange, dissonant sounding chords to beautiful a epic sounding dual riff between the two guitarist. This powerful, attention grabbing song soon gradually slides into a masterpiece of music that spans minutes long and includes an array of different instruments' that all melt together with ease as they compliment around the main acoustic riffs that sound haunting yet magical played by the guitarist. The great part about the ending of this song is that the ending riff transitions perfectly into the ending track as if they just melt together. Homecoming is the last track of this masterpiece of an album. This song is the definition of the word epic. It starts of with a simple clean guitar riff that grows higher until boom! The rest of the band joins in as Karl growls a grounding shaking yell that starts of the last track with such great force. The main riff played through out the song is the perfect riff for the last track. It's a perfect dual harmony between the guitarist and is o so powerful and gives you a feeling of victory as they slide around there down tuned guitars with such gracefulness and precision, sounds corny but trust me. This song has an amazing dual octave riff about half way through that blew me away the first time I heard it. It's filled with layered guitars and a delayed echoing voice the shouts over the beautifully crafted section. One strange about this song is that it has a solo, and a very long one at that. What's different about the solo is that it's not just a bunch of shred all jammed over a fast played metal riff. It has so much melody and it breaks from fast to slow quite often. It's more like a solo from a symphony because of how different it is and because of the little compliments done over it all the time by they drummer and guitarist's dad who is actually in a orchestra. The end of this song is so heavy and dynamic filled with melody and power at it's purest point. It's ends with the main riff played once again as Karl growls out one last line right before the guitars cut out which finishes the album of so perfectly. The last line of the album is so fitting after all the themes of losing control and being controlled. With one last bellowed growl he shouts out, The spell is broken. Thus finishing this awesome piece of music known as Controller. Sorry if I was into describing to much or seemed way to into this band, there just so good haha.
Lyrics — 10
Karl's lyrics are very cryptic yet straightforward enough that you can get gist of every song. He use's a large vocabulary unlike most metal artist these days and never limit's himself. I think every line and section fit's perfectly over the riffs and the whole feel of the song. If one part of the song feels frantic and heavy the lyrics follow. Karl has grown so much since there last release "Mirros" and has lowered his voice so it sounds more controlled and mature. He is on my top 5 of favorite vocalist of all time.
Overall Impression — 10
This album in my opinion is the best album of 08 and probable the past 5 years. Strictly my thoughts thought. The most impressive songs Homecoming and Reset just because the have so much diversity, talent, and aggression in them. I love everything about this album, I get so much inspiration when I listen to it to go make songs that will only ever be have as good as it. I hate that this album and band are not more known and don't get the credit they deserve for making such amazing music. Yet I would hate it if everyone was listening to this band it they were they "new" thing. I would buy another copy of this if it were stolen. Couldn't live with out it.