"The Killing Gods" is the 5th full-length studio album by US death metal act Misery Index. The album was released through Season of Mist in May 2014. It´s been a couple of years since the release of "Heirs To Thievery (2010)", but Misery Index have kept busy with a label change from Relapse Records to Season of Mist, touring, the "Siberian / Thus the Beast Decapitated (2011)" split, and the "Live in Munich (2013)" live album. And there´s also been a lineup change since the preceeding studio album as guitarist John "Sparky" Voyles has been replaced by Darin Morris.
With Misery Index you always know that you are going to get technically well played and fiercely aggressive brutal death metal with nods toward deathgrind, and while that´s also the case on "The Killing Gods", which generally is an album that takes no prisoners, I still think Misery Index have developed their sound in a slightly more melodic direction here. The new melodic sensibility is in large part due to new guitarist Darin Morris, who plays some delightfully melodic leads, but there are also melodic guitar themes and short atmospheric sections featured on the album that, compared to earlier releases by the band, bring a fresh sound to "The Killing Gods". It´s just a spice though, so don´t fear that Misery Index aren´t going to beat you up like they normally do. "The Killing Gods" features beating up guarantee.
Musically these guys are a tight nit unit. Fast precision playing, aggressive intelligible growling, Sharp rhythmic assault, and relentessly aggressive riffing, which alternate between death, grind, and thrashy styled playing. To my ears drummer Adam Jarvis needs a special mention for his powerful and varied playing, and even though the drums and bass aren´t as well produced and dominant in the soundscape as they were on "Heirs To Thievery (2010)", it´s still obvious that the two guys playing them are top class musicians. Regarding the sound production in general, I think it´s a notch down in quality from the sound production on the predecessor, but "The Killing Gods" is still a very well produced and powerful sounding album.
If tracks like the title track and "The Weakener" don´t make you want to go on an adrenaline fueled rampage I´m sure nothing will. Ultimately the strength of "The Killing Gods" is how well the band are able to balance their fierce aggression and brutality with touches of melody and catchy hooks (the opening five tracks even form a concept, which is a relatively sophisticated move in music this brutal). In that discipline Misery Index are number 1. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.