"Houses of the Unholy" (Rise Above; 2009)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

A Japanese stoner rock band with a liking for the tales of serial killers (all of their song titles are named after one), Church of Misery pour on a plethora of teeming lava riffage (“Blood Sucking Freak”), gravel-throated yowls and Black Sabbath bass and drum worship on the seven track "Houses of the Unholy."

Stocked with a sludge metal swagger and a stoner rock heft that swings as hard as it strikes, songs like “Shotgun Boogie” kick up the jams before the oppressive pentatonic pummeling and creepy bullhorn vocal intro of “The Gray Man” stomps your head against the curb.

Channeling everything from COC to Cathedral to Sleep and Weedeater while carving out its own niche into the heavy metal tree of woe, Church of Misery showcase a catchy yet perilous collection of maddening metallic maneuvers slow cooked to savor every last drop of diabolical umbrage.

Church of Misery: Junji Narita: drums; Tom Satan: guitars; Hideki Fukasawa: vocals, synths; Tatsu Mikami: bass.

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"Master of Brutality" (Southern Lord; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Church Of Misery make a big point of being very particular about saying their music is doom, not stoner rock. And decent doom it is. Just don't let the fact that these guys are Japanese prejudice your feelings about the music. The doom style of Church Of Misery reaches all the way back to the earthy tones of Black Sabbath but still finds room for the modern stoner, er ... doom edge that is having a resurgence in this new millennium.

Four of the six tracks use the stories of infamous mass murderers as the genesis of the songs' subject matter - it's no wonder the CD is entitled "Master Of Brutality." The actual voice of a calm, but obviously deranged, Ed Kemper kicks off "Killfornia" - this very disturbing spoken word piece is quite unsettling and undoubtedly achieves the effect it was designed to produce. "Ripping Into Pieces" has Peter 'The Yorkshire Ripper' Sutcliffe as its inspiration; Sutcliffe's fear-inducing killing spree had far reaching effects in Britain not unlike the song's low-bass rumble. The delusional serial killer Herbert Mullin serves as the inspiration for "Megalomania" and Church Of Misery fire-up this track that bears an uncanny resemblance to early-era Clutch. John Wayne Gacy, otherwise known as 'The Killer Clown,' gets his moment in the dubious spotlight on the title track where vintage televised news reports only hint at the terrible crimes he committed. "Green River" details the saga of the still-uncaught mass murderer of the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

If you like the low rumble of doom you can't go wrong with Church Of Misery's "Master Of Brutality." 

A cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Cities On Flame" is included.

Church Of Misery: Yoshiaki Negishi on vocals, Tomohiro Nishimura on guitar, Tatsu Mikami on bass, and Junji Narita on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.



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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 31 Aug 2018 10:36:33 -0400 .