Church of Misery are Totally Killer

I think that's Albert Fish, but I only say that because he's gray looking.I’ll say this for Tokyo stoner metallers Church of Misery: their sound is insane enough to do justice to the serial killers they write songs about. I once heard Slayer guitarist Kerry King describe the drumming of Dave Lombardo as being always right on the edge, totally about to fall apart, but completely in control at the same time. Well, Church of Misery don’t come off like they’re even trying to make the pretense of control. Chaos, human sacrifice, cannibalism. And on their latest full-length, Houses of the Unholy (Rise Above), a Sir Lord Baltimore cover for good measure.

On the back of the liner notes for the album it says, “No drone, no power ambient, let them eat doom,” and that’s a better review for Houses of the Unholy than I could ever write. Church of Misery‘s unhinged fuck-all doom moves quick, with songs loosely shaped around the unreal riffage from guitarist Thomas Sutton and the burly, spittle-drenching vocals of Hideki Fukasawa. The fast pace of a track like “Born to Raise Hell (Richard Speck)” — probably the most stoner cut on the record with a killer? bass break from main songwriter Tatsu Mikami around four minutes in that leads to a massive riffed-out slowdown and eventually back into the titular chorus — does nothing but add to the madness, with the wide open production of Junji Narita‘s cymbals giving the recording a live feel and constant ring. They are the very definition of lethal.

And the award for originality in a band promo photo goes to....Killer-wise, Church of Misery have used up a lot of the big names already in their prolific 14-year run (Dahmer, Berkowitz, Bundy, etc.), but if the relative obscurity of Richard Trenton Chase and Adolfo de Jes?s Constanzo does anything it’s make Houses of the Unholy even more ingrained in murder cult lore. Pedophile and child-killer Albert Fish is the impetus for “The Gray Man,” an appropriately lurking, malevolent riff and crash topped, like many of the tracks, with a sample about the killings — the fortunate (at least for the band) result of the public’s ongoing fascination with mass-murderers — there’s always a media clip. Chase, nicknamed “The Vampire of Sacramento” gets the centerpiece treatment with “Blood Sucking Freak.” One imagines that, had he not saved up his antidepressants in prison to kill himself in 1980, he’d be flattered.

At this point, Church of Misery are doom’s best kept secret, and with a playing style and aesthetic that’s bound to alienate more than endear, their underground status isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Doom for doomers, hawking murderous stoner grooves and a ravenous bloodthirst. If you know them, you know what they do, and Houses of the Unholy doesn’t do much to deviate from the formula, even unto the aforementioned Sir Lord Baltimore cover, “Master Heartache” (in the past the band has tackled Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Death SS, Iron Butterfly and others), but god damn, does it ever fucking rock. Whether you’re a doom-bent serial killer obsessive, Wikipedia dabbler or just listening because you’re curious to find out what it would sound like if Black Sabbath got in a fight with Cathedral while Entombed videotaped it to put up on YouTube later, hearing it would not be a mistake.

Church of Misery on MySpace

Rise Above Records

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3 Responses to “Church of Misery are Totally Killer”

  1. DamagedMike says:

    Hell yes. Great band. Killer album. Kick ass review.

    Rock on Brother!

  2. Flyin Ryan says:

    gah this band is too incredibly awesome.

  3. Chris West says:

    Damn right. Saw these guys in London a couple of months ago and were simply outstanding.

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