Misery Signals Mirrors

Misery Signals Mirrors
Photo: Gordie Ball
Following the intensive tour cycle in support of their debut full-length, Of Malice and the Magnum Heart, Misery Signals found themselves in a peculiar position — both critically lauded and deceptively accessible, yet potentially derailed by the departure of vocalist Jesse Zaraska. Mirrors marks the debut of new front-man Karl Schubach, who does an admirable job filling the void, and compliments the group’s slightly altered dynamic more competently than many anticipated. While not pushing the boundaries of their sound as much as they may have been capable of, Mirrors cements their position as one of the most accomplished and solid acts in the field. Opting for a less sumptuously thick and processed mix than Of Malice, the album’s groove hits harder, more frequently, and with a good deal more conscious aggression. Accordingly, the songwriting has steered towards a more consistent, yet no less complex approach, highlighting Stu Ross and Ryan Morgan’s soaring guitar leads and lurching, cleverly executed breakdowns. Those expecting a massive stylistic shift or evolution can either rest easy or expect to be disappointed — Mirrors is the sound of a group that has struggled through everything from the death of former band-mates to the loss of founding members, and is still clearly capable of dwarfing their peers and imitators. A must own.

Is the less elaborately layered, more direct production a conscious shift?
Guitarist Ryan Morgan: Our last record was extremely produced, and this time around we wanted to get more of a vibe, and use more realistic sounds. We didn’t do any preproduction or demo material in the studio like we did with Of Malice and the Magnum Heart — we didn’t try to make the songs sound good on a production level. We just laid the ideas down and heard them back, and ended up re-recording stuff tons of times just for ourselves to listen to and develop — we let the songs come together more naturally.

The songwriting seems more fluid and consistent, without sacrificing the technical aspects of your sound.
That’s definitely one of the things we focused on. While we were writing, we were thinking about how [the listener’s] relationship with an album grows. I really like that we don’t use straightforward verse/chorus structures, but structure has a lot to do with how you remember a song, and wanting to hear certain parts again. We want you to have a relationship with it — I find those are always the best records. (Ferret)