• Pale Misery – Black Candles And Gutter Scum Album Review

    Released by: Pale Misery
    Released on: May 31st, 2019.
    Purchase From Band Camp

    This self-released six track EP from Louisiana’s Pale Misery was recorded over two weeks mostly in the band’s home studio (except for the drums, which were recorded in a wood shop!) but it doesn’t matter. A bigger studio production probably would not have resulted in a better recording than this, the band’s first recorded offering. Those who appreciate the whole ‘blackened thrash’ will probably appreciate this crust-punk infused hybrid. The band started out as a duo with only bassist Thorn Letulle and drummer Garret Cantu handling the chores, but sometime later they added guitarist Jacob Neu and filled out their sound.

    Devoured opens with a weird Twin Peaks tribute but after that odd spoken word intro just blasts right into your face, the bands mix of crust punk, black metal and thrash laid bare right from the start. Here, over the course of five-minutes, the three piece blasts through an inherently nasty track, laying guttural vocals down overtop of some tight but doomy playing. It’s fast, by heavy, a little sloppy but in all the right ways, more loose than anything else. It’s an impressive way to open the record.

    Live Fast And Die carries on the trend laid down by the opener, but it’s doomier, not as fast. Still, those vocals are harsh and dirty, frightening even, delivered with a demonic intensity that goes a long way towards making this three-and-a-half-minute rager one that sticks in your head whether you want it to or not. It ends with a Sabbath-worship session played out with unnervingly droney intensity.

    The third track, No Choice, is a three-minute blast, the most hardcore punk inspired track on the album without sounding like anything close to traditional hardcore punk. There’s a definite black metal vein running through this one, as the band channels the tightness of hardcore with the… blackness of black metal to create something unholy but, quite honestly, catch as fuck.

    The Only Cure is a three-minute all-out assault, it’s intense right from the opening riff but it never lets up, it just pummels you with insanely fast, tight playing, heavy riffs, killer drums and more demonic, howling vocals. It’s horrifying and wonderful all at the same time.

    Quiet opens with a strange sample that continues for just under two-minutes, the band laying down some mellow vibes behind it. This segues into Hope Is A Mistake, the four-and-a-half-minute closer that absolutely crushes. This track features the band at their heaviest and doomiest, just bulldozing anything that gets front of them, crust-punk/blackened vocals overtop of a heavy, sludgy, Iommi-esque parade of riffs. It’s as impressive as it is weighty, plowing you down and completely distraught as the track fades to an ominous close while a weird drone-ish noise fades up and kills the track and the album.

    This is a very strong debut. There are times where the drums could have been a bit strong but otherwise, the quality of the recording is solid and the playing and the songwriting very intense. It’s a gloomy, doomy and dark selection of material but this three piece does it well, and it would not be unrealistic to expect great things from this trio in the future.