It seems big shoes need filling in the hardcore community. We all know who and what Iâ€™m talking about â€“ perhaps 2011 is the re-emergence of throaty, thrash-up destruction? To be honest, I wouldnâ€™t be surprised; what with the dominance of straight metal in the heavy scales the past few years itâ€™s about time we saw 5 shirtless blokes in massive shorts jumping up and down, spitting soundbites about brotherhood and/or how fucking tragically moribund their love life has become. Well, I doubt New Miseries will be doing that, because from their facebook picture, they wouldnâ€™t want beer/sweat/other bodily fluids messing up their stylish asymmetrical haircuts.
Right, thatâ€™s the rather tedious dig out the way, now on to the music. New Miseries arenâ€™t doing anything remotely new â€“ theyâ€™re more dredging the lake of hardcore; salvaging that old, guttural sound, rewiring it, slapping on a new coat of paint and seeing if the wheels still turn. The opening track (â€™11:11â€™) is a short instrumental piece; lasting just over a minute, beginning with a melancholy guitar tone and some badly recorded drum taps before launching into some crunching, intrepid post-hardcore stomp, which sadly cuts off all too soon just as it gets going. What comes next made me contemplate the thought Iâ€™d left shuffle on. â€˜Black & Blueâ€™ bolts forward like Hobbes greeting a newly home-from-school Calvin. The sudden burst of brutish aggression is obviously designed to knock the listener back; to wake them from whatever trance the brooding instrumental opener attempted to create. Itâ€™s wrought dammit â€“ an uncomfortable snarl of scrappy, dilapidated noise. From the snotty vocal delivery, this never seems to let up, to the supposed slower moments, which still put you on edge to the crunchy, standard meathead plod. They even manage to throw in a sneering â€œUUURRRRRRRR!â€ for good measure just before the big breakdown. â€˜Rainâ€™ begins along a similar path, sliding somewhat into that brutish, fist in the air â€œOI! OI!â€ style of brackish anger. The delivery is akin to that of The Hope Conspiracy; the brashness and the fusion of the strangely melodic guitar lines (which are blink and youâ€™ll miss them) owe a lot to Kevin Bakerâ€™s hardcore mob. The last track, â€˜Deathbedsâ€™ is a churning wash of sound, staggering first with pent-up hardcore standards, bleeding into a Hatebreed style beat-down attack, before falling back into the shredding whirlwind. At times, it feels as though itâ€™s going to go all trendy-metalcore, which New Miseries skirt around, VERY delicately, however the overall raw intensity of this demo, as well as the muddy hardcore guitar lines gives it at least some heart and passionate determination that this Pennsylvania five-piece have in bucketloads. â€˜I Am Without Meâ€™ is a promising and gutsy start.
By Ross Macdonald