A few months ago, I spoke to Loïc LF of Autokrator and N.K.V.D. about his personal projects and releasing material through his own label, Krucyator Productions. At the time, Loïc hadn’t yet signed or promoted any other bands but was on the lookout for exemplary acts of extremity to push through his own label. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait long to hear the first outside act to release material through Krucyator. On February 13th, Krucyator is set to release the debut EP of Miserist, an unwholesome, grimy death metal project from Australia. As the man behind the project is anonymous and wishes to remain soon, I messaged Loïc to get the scoop.
Since Miserist’s creator is maintaining secrecy at the moment, I wanted to know how Loïc had stumbled across the excellent act in the first place. “Miserist’s leader (he wants to stay anonymous) sent me an email with a song attached,” Loïc noted. “He was looking [for] someone to release his stuff.” Despite previously releasing one demo as Headwar, the man behind Miserist wanted to bring his horrific spawn to a larger audience and saw a kindred spirit in the grim, unfeeling extremity of Loïc’s own bands.
“Miserist shares common points with [my] music,” Loïc shared. “Dark, industrial oriented, it’s the kind of release I would have been happy to play on.” Fans of Autokrator shouldn’t balk at the industrial description, though; Miserist’s self-titled EP shares much more in common with the blunt-force extremity of Autokrator than it does the razor-wire martial rhythms of N.K.V.D. The swirling, off-kilter rhythms and heady riffs conjured by Miserist are much more aligned with the styles of Portal and Gateways to Annihilation Morbid Angel than anything yet performed by Loïc’s own bands, a fact he finds exciting. “I only created Krucyator to release my own projects, but when I listened to Miserist, I liked it so much. The project wasn’t released, [so] I made an offer to the guy behind the project. To tell the truth, promoting [an]other band is great. Earlier last year, I already made a proposition to a band called Cognizant, who plays blackened death grind. Unfortunately the guys refused the offer, because it was easier for them to sign on an American label. I didn’t said my last word as I already approached them for their next release. And their music, which is excellent, is far from what I play.”
As for Miserist, I can assure you that fans of muddy death metal won’t be disappointed. Across six tracks of pounding misery, Miserist deftly trades in stifling atmosphere and suffocating riffs, accented by a throbbing atmosphere of tension and rage. Opening track “Skin, Mold & Flame” sets the tone with eery riffs and blasts that wade out of a thick morass of swirling distortion and faint echoes to undo your composure. The following tracks deliver on the promise of menace sworn by the opening track, veering madly from blind, idiot, dissonant riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on an Altarage or Aethyrvorous album to taut moments of crackling soundscapes broken only by the discord of prominent, crashing cymbals. The vocals are sparse (if even existent), felt mostly in the eerie, almost choral-
The vocals are sparse (if even existent), felt mostly in the eerie, almost choral-esque burbles and groans just beyond earshot. Most surprising, though, are the slight hints of melody that creep in like a disease amid the walls of angular riffs and blasts. “Horror Infinitum” features those offbeat strings of melodic notes that make Predatory Light so addicting. These odd melodies, in addition to the radio samples and other effects that intrude like alien interlopers into the blackened marsh (see “Horror Infinitum” for a perfect example) set this project apart from the purely monolithic death metal of bands like Ulcerate and Phobocosm. The odd, gibbering hellscape of industrial closer “Narikuntu,” with its malevolent genius loci structure that owes more to Stalaggh or Yhdarl than anything in the cavernous death realm, only seals the deal that this project has great potential. Over the course of its short 30-minute runtime, Miserist takes us through a labyrinth of forking paths, leaving us all the more disoriented (and better for it).
Thankfully, the lyrical content of the record matches the gravity of the music. According to Miserist’s creator:
“The first track I recorded was ‘Narikuntu.’ I’d just watched a documentary on a mental asylum for kids, and I thought of what it would be like in there, treated like an animal, trapped in dark rooms with people that could kill you, rape you or defecate on you at any second. Just pure misery. This is what I thought of while recording these tracks and I used this as a theme for the album. It was mixed from February 2015 until March 2016, but most of the guitar was recorded in a few weeks. I was in a dark place and after seeing that documentary it just all spilled out. I added to it bit by bit, added other sounds, and everything else over time. Each track name had meaning to that.”
Miserist’s self-titled debut EP is out on February 13th. You can pre-order it here and follow the project here. Loïc and I are both stoked for you to hear it. “If you like Portal, Spektr, Gorguts or Gnaw Their Tongues, this record is for you! I m proud to give this project a chance for its debut.”