By Albert Mansour
Doom and heavy metal fans that are unfamiliar will find Japan’s Church of Misery amazing. This seven track cd, entitled Houses Of The Unholy, is the band’s fourth full length album and second to see a proper North American release. Starting off with the crunching opening track “El Padrino” the album is a real blast, full of prevailing riffs and doomy vocals – this music can be a real eye-opener in demonstrating that metal doesn’t need to be fast, brutal, technical or atmospheric to grab your attention. Songs with good compositional structure, ideas, and musical development, coupled with emotional riffs, solos, and chorus still reign supreme. Traditional heavy metal can still make an impact to modern day listeners and the quartet proves it here over and over. Other remarkable tracks on the album are “Shotgun Boogie,” “The Gray Man” and “Blood Sucking Freak “. These songs keep the album flowing and your head banging, and all showcase a sense of the band’s refinement with none of the songs seeping over the eight-minute mark. What separates Houses of the Unholy is the band’s penchant for psychedelic melodies and harmonies, not to mention that all lyrical themes are about serial killers. Church of Misery is an extremely heavy doom band, that varies from slow and melancholy to fast and crunchy more often than you’d expect. The band is really amazing and anyone who likes doom and heavy metal such as Witchfinder General, Trouble, Black Sabbath & Cirith Ungol should check this out.
(Rise Above Records)