Misery Index
"Heirs to Thievery"

(Relapse Records 2010)Misery Index - Heirs to Thievery

Misery Index are pissed off. If the album title, cover art, and the more discernable lyrics are any indication, it's the government's "forcible appropriation" of land from this continent's original inhabitants that's the target of much of the band's ire on their fourth full-length. Bassist/vocalist/mouthpiece Jason Netherton also skewers broader American imperialism, apathy and complacency; but the fact that the Baltimore wrecking machine makes genuine music of dissention is only one of the reasons that "Heirs to Thievery" is one of the best pieces of aggression so far this year.

Misery Index's death/grind flavor has slowly evolved from messy aggression to riding the sweet spot between the two poles, with their death oh-so-brutal and their grind of the Pig Destroyer, riff-dominated variety. The crafty veterans chew up blast beats, crippling speed picking and chunks of cinderblock chugging, and spit out hate-charged hand grenades that are filled with more loathing, resentment, and desperation than all the notoriously sketchy strip joints of the band's hometown combined.

And sure, this has all the speed-driven blasting fury that you'd expect, but what makes "Heirs to Thievery" so damn good is the attention to detail with which the album is put together; there are solo bursts and piercing melodic licks that worm their way into your ears with each repeated listen. It's things like "The Seventh Cavalry"'s persistent death march and the brodude-type knuckle dragging of "The Spectator" that leaven the full-charge attack and make the album more than a one-time adrenaline fix.

Everything that made 2008's "Traitors" such a well regarded slab is here, only with some firm kicks in the ass. "Heirs to Thievery" is tighter, smarter and more memorable than anything the band has touched before. This is a true juggernaut, and perhaps the only things more frightening to come out of Charm City are the genius that was The Wire and the collective batting average of the hapless Orioles.

A-

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