Misery Index is no stranger to these playlists. In fact, we were in the midst of winter 2013 when bassist/vocalist Jason Netherton regaled us with "bleak tunes that recall those snowbound blizzards from yesteryear." This time around, guitarist Mark Kloeppel went in a totally different direction to get you in the know about "hard" jams. We'll let him take things from here: "'Hard' is a special set of subtly nuanced cross-genre aesthetic characteristics within extreme music that may be a little elusive to the untrained ear. Basically, we are talking about ignorant, pounding grooves that might make you want to destroy a room or get in a street fight." Still curious? Check out the 10 tunes below. Just know that Kloeppel's not the first to make a Wendy's reference around these parts -- that's how hard we roll at the Deciblog. After perusing his selections, you can pick up a copy of Misery Index's fifth full-length, The Killing Gods, here.
Rattenfänger's "Clausae Patent" (from 2012's Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum) Hardest shit ever! Rattenfänger, a side project of our label mates Drudkh, is quintessentially "hard". Being hard is a subtle thing, as the music evokes in the listener a notion that talented musicians are utilizing a kind of elective ignorance as a purposive composition method. Listen to how the "thrash" beat mid-song sounds just a little to slow. That would be a big no-no for a band attempting to use a beat like that for its original purpose. To play a fast style beat too slow, in this case, is purposive ignorance. Now that is hard!
Goatwhore's "FBS" (from 2014's Constricting Rage Of The Merciless) Goatwhore? More like GoatwHARD. Bands have influences, and Goatwhore's influence is Celtic Frost, unabashedly deathrolling Warrior after Warrior-style riff. [Guitarist] Sammy [Duet] just doesn't give a F, and not giving a F is what being hard is all about. That's not to say Sammy doesn't have his own style. That dude has written the most rocking riffs I can remember, and his style is distinct. But the Frost is strong in this one, as is the Priest. I digress. On a song with a title like this, you might expect the meaning of the FBS acronym to be repeatedly rammed down your god-fearing throat. Nope. [Vocalist Ben] Falgoust only gives it to you one time mid-song. Hard!
Portal's "Curtain" (from 2013's Vexovoid) Ah, Portal...the big "F you" to computer-perfect precise death metal. It's almost as if the song was written for the video, which sets nice imagery to visually imagine their other songs. By totally ignoring any sort of trendy standard, these fellas put the clock faces and robes on and put the darkness in you...hard!
Hate Eternal's "I, Monarch" (from 2005's I, Monarch) [Erik] Rutan [guitarist/vocalist] is no slouch. But what does one do when he's already conquered the throne of the king of all kings? Punch you in the face with tyrannical, narcissistic rage, that's what! Hate Eternal has put out great tunes before and since this record. For me, this one just happens to be the hardest!
Fulgora's "Risen" (from 2013's Risen/Artifice EP) Better go to Wendy's and get yourself a Frosty, because you're going to need it after a track this hard! For me, it's like VOD went deathgrind. I don't include Fulgora because our drummer Adam [Jarvis] happens to be in the band. Rather, the riffs these dudes are churning out are next level. This is legit harshcore!
Xibalba's "Cold" (from 2012's Hasta La Muerte) In a world of hipster-djenty-quirky-vegan-douchey "metal", it's refreshing to see a band slam liquor and pork chops and then bring the pound cakes. Thank you Xibalba...for being hard!
Dying Fetus's "Subjected To A Beating" (from 2012's Reign Supreme) If you were to sit down with [vocalist/guitarist] John Gallagher for five minutes with a guitar, he would proceed to write more pummeling catchy riffs than you could in five years. This song and album is right up there with the "classic" material. And yeah, I did do some vocals on this track, but that's not why it's on the list. It's on the list for riff número uno in the song. So hard!
Magrudergrind's "Bridge Burner" (from 2009's Magrudergrind) I don't think you can get much harder than "Bridge Burner". The main riff is like getting curbed over and over again. I was a little bummed when [drummer] Chris [Moore] left this band. Those chops! That groove! That über-funked-in-the-pocket blast! I thought it was going to be all over. But the dudes pressed on strong, and still bring the pound cakes and the super grind...hard! Definitely your new favorite band, if they aren't already.
Infestdead's "JesuSatan" (from 1999's JesuSatan) The end of this song makes me want to punch every pony at the petting zoo. This is a drum machine project Dan Swanö used to figure out how to use a Mac to record for the first time. The riffs are spontaneous and pummeling. This is my absolute favorite record from Dan. Every single riff is catchy, rife with ignorance, and, most importantly...hard.
Machine Head's "Davidian" (from 1994's Burn My Eyes) Don't you even start to talk shit right now. I know, the same guy that was in Vio-lence could be seen sporting a scencester sideways cap and bandana like in some alternative monthly, and uniform code metal attire in your typical Euro metal mag in the same month. I know. Let's not even begin to talk about the "Red" album or how this video looks for that matter. Victim of the times, victim of the times. This song, though...you cannot tell me, for one instant, that when you hear "Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast" that you don't want to punch the person standing next you. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's hard.
So, class, hopefully you have a better understanding of what "hard" is all about. Then again, maybe you don't. Either way, go support your local record shop, and pick up some hard jams. Might I suggest Misery Index's The Killing Gods be your first choice. Shameless plug. Go hard or go home.
*Photo by Alyssa Lorenzon
**Pick up a copy of The Killing Gods here
***For past Decibrity entries, click here