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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Pale Misery - Black Candles And Gutter Scum [Self Release - 2019]

Pale Misery are a young band from Louisiana, USA. They began their journey as a duet of musicians, but later this duet became a trio. Pale Misery defines its style as Blackened Crust. Whatever that means-  but more about that later. The band are shortly going to be releasing their debut mini-album Black Candles And Gutter Scum, which they’ll release as a self-released digital album. Anyone can pre-order this from the band's bandcamp page, and get the opportunity to download the song “The Only Cure”, which will also be presented on the debut mini-album.

The album cover is based on the illustration of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy by Gustave Dore. I can not say, but in my opinion, this illustration is called Cliff. It depicts Dante and Virgil, standing on the edge of a high cliff, at the bottom of which we can see a lot of naked sinners. In the middle of the cover is the white logo Pale Misery. It takes up about a third of the total cover space. The logo is made in a fairly minimalist style. It is a distorted letters, as if written in thick marker. The letters are formed into a kind of crown, the central part of which is occupied by the letter M, into which the inverted cross is inscribed. In general, the logo seemed to me quite interesting, & not very similar to the usual logos of black-metal bands. I would rather draw analogies with the aesthetics of the Stoner / Doom groups. In the lower right corner is the name of the album “Black Candles And Gutter Scum”, written in white gothic font.

The album, with a total duration of just over twenty one minutes, consists of six tracks - “Devoured”, “Live Fast And Die”, “No Choice”, “The Only Cure”, “Quiet”, which is a kind of two-minute intro to the final composition “Hope Is a mistake”. Pale Misery music presented on the debut mini-album is a rather vigorous and energetic mix of black metal, death metal and punk. As well as some elements characteristic of Heavy metal and classic Doom. While listening to the album, I heard many familiar elements, both melodic and rhythmic, from Darkthrone, Impaled Nazarene and Blasphemy to Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath. All tracks are created in approximately the same style. During one track there can be several changes of rhythm - from fairly fast to medium tempo. However, the final track “Hope Is A Mistake” can be safely labelled as  Stoner / Doom.

I really liked the sound of the whole album. Very  heavy ringing bass, grinding guitar and clear sound of drums. I would like to mention the sound engineer, who has created a very clear and transparent sound, managing to maintain gravity and drive. Also, it is difficult for me to single out an individual musician - everything is played very accurately and professionally. Sometimes, when listening to an any bands's album, there is a feeling that more attention is paid to one of the musicians. But on Black Candles And Gutter Scum the sound is very harmonious and balanced. Even the powerful screaming black metal vocals do not stand out from the rest of the mix, but are an integral part of it. It is also worth saying that in those parts that are original intro, voice clips from movies are used. For me, this is a rather controversial element, but this is not a clear disadvantage of the album.

If I’m honest Blackened Crust as a genre still remains a mystery to me. I cannot say that I have heard many bands playing this style. But those bands that I was lucky to hear are very different in terms of sound, approach to writing compositions and melodic terms. From this I can conclude that the style of Blackened Crust has very blurred boundaries. If we talk about the music of Pale Misery, using traditional definitions, then I would call this style Death / Black Metal. But I think that stylistic definitions are not really important for good and high-quality music.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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