The Baltimore band, conceived by a trio of ex-Dying Fetus renegades, has been able to evolve through the standard half-dozen lineup changes and mature past their early growl and guts Behemoth metal to their own identifiable sound. Jason Netherton manhandles the vocals while Mark Kloeppel helps darken things up with occasional backing. Netherton's bass, Andy Jarvis on club kit drums (with a snare in need of tighter snares) along with Darin Morris on the heavy-lift guitar, propel Misery Index's thinly veiled hookiness and respectable Kung Fu chord chopping atop awe-inspiring rhythms.
The band unfortunately works with a only single rhythm throughout Live In Munich. The songs may have clocked in at 135 beats per minute on the record, but they get the meth-bending 180 BPM treatment on stage. Netherton's vocals are highlights on MI albums, but at the vengeance weapon speed used on this album, the vocals lack their usual cut. When the third song, "You Lose," shows up on the set lists taped to the stage floor, Netherton actually yells out 'Let's go faster!' One of the best songs on the album blazes by like a meteor blast over an isolated Russian town. It leaves little time to sustain a decent concussion in the mosh.
A tepid version of "The 7th Cavalry" is lifted up by a souful guitar melody that underpins the last 30 seconds. It should be a 100 Euro fine, though, whenever the frontman has to implore the crowd to stop standing around in their square foot of general admission space and get violent. Misery Index flashes the irony card after screaming out these instructions by scorching through a madcap rendition of "The Spectator." A humorous element in this 'live' chronicle is the way the crowd was under-miked. The boys with the beers in their hands sound like they're lined along the back of the biergarten.
Misery Index absolutely rips soft tissue and tendon on "The Illuminaught." Amidst the rack tom showers and the can't-quite-keep-up rhythm guitars, the bass thunder and vocal rants hold the sloppiness together. Tension mounts as the whole mess threatens to collapse into itself, yet Misery Index keeps the momentum and savagery at such a boil that the listening experience rings away in the same manner a camera flash leaves behind purple circles after it pops.
"Siberian (2012 Remix)" ends the album as a clear testament of Misery Index excellence. This band knows how to write a song in a genre where songs are often afterthoughts. Precise as a an atomic clock, stuffed with hooks nasty in intent and yet craftily accessible, it’s either a mistake to include the song or an intelligent value-add that leaves the listener wanting more Misery.
(released February 19, 2013 by Season Of Mist)