When the album is mastered by Tad Doyle, well it’s a no brainer that something special is about to play through my speakers. Esben Willems of Monolord asked on Facebook one day what are some things that will require a listen to an album. I answered with artwork that catches my attention but the other I didn’t mention is if Tad Doyle or Tony Reed had a hand in it. This album checks off both those marks.
The Misery Men, who on this recording feature Corey Lewis (vocals, rhythm guitar), Rob Wrong (rhythm, lead guitar), Billy Anderson (bass), and Ian Caton (drums), return with their third album Devillusion, released through the almighty Desert Records on 1st October. Diving into this album, immediately it’s a fun rocking long-player, but after reading the promo notes, it’s also a very important and sentimental album. I will get into that in a little bit.
Let’s have a little fun first. Devil’s Balls starts this album off with a play on TADs God’s Balls. The fuzz-soaked riff hit my ears first and fades to the background allowing the lead guitar to take over. The growling vocals chime in shortly after with a pulsing drum beat giving this song life.
Werewolf and Iron Front continue the fun rocking atmosphere. Werewolf takes on a swing/boogie vibe while Iron Front lets the chugging fuzz riffs take over. It’s no surprise these songs are next to each other on the album because they fit together like puzzle pieces. What Werewolf has set up with the groove, Iron Front has taken that energy and turned it up with many high energy solos peppered throughout.
The next two songs take the album on that sentimental turn. Chris Newman was approached by Corey Lewis to collaborate on a song by adding a solo, or harmonic leads, or even write an entire song together. Chris was 100% on board with this idea and was set to start working on it after surgery. Unfortunately, Chris’ health took a turn for the worse and on May 5th, 2021 he passed away. Corey decided to honor his memory on this album, hence why I stated it’s an important and sentimental album.
dynamics going from a groovy bass and palm muted guitar to explosive early punk chaos…
Cat With Nine Lives and The Reaper are the songs chosen to honor Chris. Both were written by Chris in previous bands. The former originally by Napalm Beach and the latter by Snow Bud and the Flower People. You can tell when listening to these songs, which also features Sam Henry (drums), and Kelly Halliburton (bass), they truly felt the music, and what must have been an emotional time playing them. This incarnation of The Misery Men do these songs justice and provide a heartfelt way to honor their friend.
Tardigrades comes crawling in next with a slow tempo and gritty guitar riff. I think this song stands out more to me because its slow pace is more my speed to suit my guitar skills. The guitar rhythm also reminds me of Sleep, but since this song clocks in at five and a half minutes, I guess it’s reminiscent of the first three notes of any Sleep song.
The second to last song, Nirürth, shows The Misery Men’s skills with dynamics going from a groovy bass and palm muted guitar to explosive early punk chaos. What stands out to me is the use of just cymbals on the calmer parts. That may be something that’s often done and I haven’t picked up on, but it stood out to me here and it’s fantastic. A great song to set up the closer.
And to close out, The Misery Men decided on one last cover. To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey is the final notes you’ll hear as the albums ends. The almost soothing version PJ Harvey gave us has been taken to new heights with The Misery Men’s vision. The band locks in beautifully and Corey Lewis really shines with those long powerful vocals. It’s no wonder they chose this to be the last thing you hear as it’s stuck with me well after the song silences.
It’s been said a million times, there have been some dark times this last year and change, but even more so for all involved with The Misery Men having to further deal with the loss of a loved one. They really stepped it up on Devillusion making a hard rocking fun album that’s also sentimental at the same time.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider