Thursday 5 December 2019

Misery Loves Co. - Zero (2019)

Country: Sweden
Style: Industrial Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 29 Nov 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Metal Archives | Wikipedia

Latest in a growing list of bands coming out with a new studio album after a long time away is Uppsala's Misery Loves Co., who released three albums back in the nineties to much acclaim, Not Like Them beating out Entombed, Tiamat and Hammerfall to land them a Swedish Grammi. They called it a day in 2000 but the original duo of Patrik Wirén and Örjan Örnkloo got back together in 2016. This is their first studio album in nineteen years.

It's interesting stuff, Misery Loves Co. being grounded in industrial music but with a heavy edge. The opening track, Suburban Breakdown, has a notably heavy guitar, as if the band want to make it clear from the outset that they haven't softened up over time. After all, they have toured with Slayer, Fear Factory and Machine Head. They ought to have some sort of crunch to them and that's notable here and on Dead Streets.

A Little Something adds wilder rhythms and a post-punk influence that's also notable on The Waiting Room and the title track, but it's still heavy, not least through the guitar at the end and a dark bass line from Örjan Örnkloo. Örnkloo is perhaps more notable for providing the industrial edge, including the drum programming. That shines on Only Happy When It Rains, which reminds of both Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails, even though it's a Garbage cover.

And that's where a slightly lighter sound comes in that continues throughout the album. It's not soft, but it lets up on the heavier guitar and shifts to a more new wave approach to heavy industrial. It's another band that they've toured with that leaps out for comparison and that's Paradise Lost. Most of the album features gothic tinges and experimental edges along with its solid industrial base, as if they're combining different eras of Paradise Lost.

Fell in Love sounds like a One Second-era song but with some of the earlier doom overlaid as a filter. Would You?, the single, is even more reminiscent with some Nick Holmes vocal lines. Later tracks move away from Paradise Lost and then come back to them again, but they're never far from the sound, just without any of the death from their doom/death days. Misery Loves Co. don't have any wish to go there, it seems.

This band showed up in 1993, an odd time for me. Tommy Vance was leaving the Friday Rock Show for Virgin Radio, Kerrang! had gone all alternative and I'd drifted into other interests. As such, I don't believe I ever heard them in their heyday, unless it was on an Earache promo or a cover disc somewhere. I like what I hear here though and ought to check out that earlier material, a skimpy back catalogue but a well regarded one.

I've only dipped my toes in the industrial genre now and then over decades, enough to find a few favourite bands (hey, Velvet Acid Christ and Hanzel und Gretyl) but not enough to gain any real expertise. Misery Loves Co. arriving hot on the heels of the new Die Krupps album makes me want to delve deeper. Learning more about NDH this year just adds to that.

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