Album Review: Misery Index – “Rituals of Power”

Grindcore comes, grindcore goes

Over the years, veteran deathgrinders Misery Index have been moving away from the latter and firmly into the former, the band morphing from a polished version of Assück’s political grind and His Hero Is Gone’s D-beat apoco-crust to something approximating the old Floridian DM legends offering up a take on grindcore.

Rituals of Power—the band’s sixth full-length and first since 2014’s The Killing Gods—starts off like a statue crumbling, the crazed drums threatening grind over the sludgy Obituarian DM. Then the violence really comes with “Decline and Fall”’s blasting grindcore, all set up with a doom-death intro that prefaces the rage. But it doesn’t just blast all the way through—by the time it reaches its climax, the band is using chilling melodies and a tempo more mid than manic, and it works wonders (see also “Hammering the Nails” and the title track for very effective melodies).

Throughout most of this album, Misery Index use blast beats as a tease more than a primary tool, and while the grind fanatic in me sheds a solemn tear, when I hear moments like the raging mid-tempo DM solo in “The Choir Invisible,” I realize the power of what they’ve created. And it’s not like there’s no grind—the band goes hard on the explosive “New Salem,” then closes off the album with the one-two punch of blasters “I Disavow” and “Naysayer.”

Throw it all together in a smart, 36-minute runtime and the band’s most death metal album cover yet, and it becomes clear that Misery Index have grown into a behemoth, taking what they’ve learned along the way to construct a fantastic, powerful and moving deathgrind album.