Church Of Misery - Houses Of The Unholy
Rise Above
Doom, Stoner Metal
7 songs (48:11)
Release year: 2009
Church Of Misery, Rise Above
Reviewed by Goat

There seems to have been a strange lack of interest lately in Doom Metal, particularly amongst the readership of this site. Although the recent Black Sabbath retrospective gave very good feedback, few visitors seem interested in further exploration of the various bands spawned from the black maw of Doom, which is a shame, as a chance encounter with this particular album proved to me. Japanese/Australian four-piece Church Of Misery clearly worship Sabbath – their third full-length was titled Vol. 1 and featured artwork taken from Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4 – but mix that classic downtuned riffage with a dark atmosphere due to the lyrical focus on serial and spree killers. The result is an excellent album, one of those pieces of music that makes you wonder why you ever stopped listening to Doom, even for a second.

Imagine a Doom supergroup, made up of members of Cathedral, with Tony Iommi on guitar and perhaps a Clutch-inspired rhythm section, and you’d get something much like this, clearly having an awesome time as they blast out the misery. Mixing the classic rock-inspired Sabbath with ferocious Stoner attitude and a killer grasp of what makes a killer Doom song just so killer, Church Of Misery shoot through the running time with manic intensity. The likes of Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty) roll by at high speed, occasional samples adding to the vigorous storytelling drive, and whilst the band take every occasion to rock out, it’s the crazed vocals of Yoshiakki Negishi (formerly of Death/Doom sludgers Coffins) that give Church Of Misery their violent energy. To be honest, they’re the chief obstacle in getting to love the band, especially if you’re coming to this from an exclusively True Doom background, but Yoshiakki’s sloppy howls are easy to love, and they fit in well with the overall murderous atmosphere.

Speaking of which, the killers chosen as inspiration here are interesting. Few bands with this lyrical topic seem as cheerful and devil-may-care as this, an approach which works wonders when you’re dealing with the likes of Charles Starkweather. Opening track El Padrino (Adolfo De Jesus Constanzo) starts with feedback-laced riffing over which a sampled (genuine, I assume) newsreader tells of the exhumation of mutilated human bodies, before the main boogied-up riff starts to churn and Yoshiakki begins his howling. The aforementioned Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty) is the fastest on the album, a manic yet strangely danceable ride that somehow manages to sum up the 1984 San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre as an old-time foot-tapper, whilst legendary child-eater and all-around sick fuck Albert Fish (featured on the album artwork) gets a surprisingly catchy yet oddly Bluesy send-off in The Grey Man (Albert Fish).

There’s little to criticise. Songs can be as long as nearly nine minutes long, but all hold your attention and keep you grooving. Coming across this as I did after spending a good long time without any Doom to keep my black heart sustained, was something of a revelation, and what’s more, it does more than just filling that gloomy hole, it slams a bloody meat-cleaver in it. If you’ve missed your dose of Doom and don’t mind non-traditional vocalists, then Church Of Misery offer a murderously good time for all.

Killing Songs :
El Padrino (Adolfo De Jesus Constanzo), Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty), Badlands (Charles Starkweather & Caril Fugate)
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Church Of Misery that we have reviewed:
Church Of Misery - And Then There Were None... reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:10 am
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