Church Of Misery - 'Master Of Brutality/The Second Coming' Reissues (Rise Above Records) Print
Written by Gaz E   
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 05:00

churchmasterChurch Of Misery may be familiar to some people around Uber Rock parts due to the 2003 split that they released with legendary Welsh stoners Acrimony but, to the uninitiated, this band of seminal Japanese doom merchants may well be a new name to hold dear to their heavy duty hearts.


With almost every band member looking like Genghis Khan from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Church Of Misery carved a career for themselves in the dark passageway of doom metal, and a revered career at that. These two albums that now see re-release from Rise Above Records have been long out of print and commanding tasty fees on the secondary market. The timing of their reissues, then, could not be sweeter.


Sweet, however, is hardly a word that could be uttered when the virtual needle is dropped onto these grimy slabs of sludge.


'Master Of Brutality', originally released on Southern Lord Records back in 2001, opens with 'Killifornia' and the unfaltering tones of murderer Ed Kemper: yes, the blackened heart of this album pumps around the red blood cells of the likes of Peter Sutcliffe and John Wayne Gacy, on whom the title track is based. This is heavy shit, musically as well as thematically.


'Megalomania', based on the thirteen murders of Herbert Mullin, grooves along in so fine a fashion, a retro funked-up and fuzzed-out mover and shaker, that you almost feel guilty given the subject matter. 'Green River' drifts along on moodier, darkened waters before 'Cities On Flame', a cover of the Blue Oyster Cult track, breaks up the murderous intent briefly, though hardly lightens the tone, especially with the 'With Rock And Roll' part of the title dropped. A hulking beast of a riff-hungry version it is though. Three bonus tracks flesh out this reissue; a live version of 'Lucifer Rising' preceded by 'Boston Strangler' and 'Candy Man', based on the infamous crimes of Albert De Salvo and Dean Corll respectively. 


The interview and news reel dialogue littered throughout the album only adds to the ominous atmosphere: this debut full length album, out of print for the last six years, and wrapped in 'familiar' cover art, is as heavy as they come.....


....until 'The Second Coming' hits the speakers upside the head with a blunt instrument.


churchsecondLong considered Church Of Misery's masterpiece, this album was released in Japan and France in very small quantities in 2004, thereby guaranteeing something of a mythical status. Opener 'I, Motherfucker' (an ode to Ted Bundy) may be soaked in the same spilled blood as its predecessor but, if anything, it offers that this record is an angrier proposition, the vocals snarled and confrontational at times.


'Soul Discharge' continues the frantic assault before 'Red Ripper Blues' trips out into a comedown; the tale of Ukrainian monster Andrei Chikatilo taking its foot off the gas a little and returning to the bruising soundscapes of old. Courtroom dialogue of Aileen Wuornos opens 'Filth Bitch Boogie' before the band's cover of 'One Way...Or Another', the title track of the sophomore album from '70s US rockers Cactus, breaks things up a little like the BOC cut on the debut. Another cover, a fuzzy version of 'For Madmen Only', originally recorded by English power trio May Blitz on their second album in 1971, is added as a solitary bonus track.


With almost every song based on serial killers and homicidal maniacs, these two albums from the Japanese masters of doom were hardly ever going to tickle the ears: they are pulsating assaults on the senses, the debut more brooding, its follow-up more cocksure and confident in its attack, that have surely influenced a legion of stoner musicians and, with these great reissues, are sure to taint even more, the albums' murderous rampage hurtling over state lines into your (soon to be extinguished) life.


Killer stuff.


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