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| MISERY INDEX: NOTES FROM THE PLAGUE YEARS
| Boy Sets Fire has always been a confusing band, for fans and perhaps even themselves. Their roots are firmly planted in melodic-hardcore, but their more recent career has been accused of being nu-metal. Misery Index, even before its release, had been expected to be rather different from 2003's Tomorrow Come Today.
Most BSF fans are not too harshly critical of Tomorrow Come Today, but I for one can say I'm not a fan. It lacked the die-hard fan following of 2001's After the Eulogy.
Misery Index has a much more disjoint feel than the more locomotive Tomorrow Come Today. Its heavy side is comparable to Scarlet's new release and some Remembering Never. It isn't quite a reinvention of the band, but it is definitely an improvement from Tomorrow Come Today.
First off, the vocals have drastically improved in their character. The singing has more depth and the screams are much better placed. I can't help but note the cheesiness in a lot of the vocal lines, particularly the first minute of the album. The self-titled track is an example of the strong yet cheesy melody. It is richly layered and recorded, but it sounds like post-Creed Christian rock for some reason.
While the melodic side of the band is questionable, the heavy stuff is stellar. It is a blend of classic hardcore chording with the more varied guitar-lines and rhythms that have been more favored in recent hardcore. The recording quality of the album isn't adequate in presenting the powerful potential of its heavy side though. The guitars could have had more gain and the high end could have been emphasized more.
That's not saying a lot though, because the "hardcore" does not make up the majority of the content in this album. Most of it is sung over mid-tempo riffing, a mix of mellow and metal.
Because of this, and because of other elements like the jazz intro in "So Long... and Thanks for the Crutches," Misery Index is BSF's most diverse album. While the previous albums seesawed on nu-metal and melodic hardcore, this album just takes off on a merry-go-round of different sounds and emotions.
Satisfaction is not guaranteed on this one. Boy Sets Fire has always had its detractors, and while audience responses to this album have been widely popular, it has been harshly criticized for not holding up to the more classic BSF hardcore sound. If you are a purist, you're going to hate this. But open-minded fans will find much to love about Misery Index.
1) Walk Astray
3) Final Communique
4) The Misery Index
5) (10) And Counting
6) Falling Out Theme
8) So Long... And Thanks
For The Crutches
9) With Cold Eyes
10) Deja Coup
11) Social Register Fanclub
<< 12) Nostalgic For Guillotines >>
13) A Far Cry