Exclusive: Jason Netherton (Misery Index) Interview

Misery Index happens to be one of my favorite bands of the last decade. Their music is pummeling and brutal and I absolutely love it. I caught up with bassist/vocalist, Jason Netherton and asked him a few questions. Read on to learn about the origin of the band’s name, some younger bands that Jason enjoys and what the most influential shows have been to him.

Misery Index on Metal Archives
Misery Index on MySpace
Misery Index Official Site

The band shares its name with an album by legendary band Assuck. Was it this, or was the economic indicator, misery index, that serves as the basis of the band?
I knew of the Assuck album, and I was a fan of the band, and the name really stuck with me in the years after it came out. When it came time to come up with a name for the project, I knew I wanted it to be a more overtly politicized band lyrically than was Dying fetus, so I toss that name to Mike (my bandmate at the time who I formed the band with) and he liked it, so we went with it. The fact it has an additional meaning in economics is also a bonus, it grounds our lyrics and image more to reality in the punk tradition, so it was perfect.

How did the band come together?
I got together with my longtime friend Mike Harrison at the time, who had been in and out of various other Maryland death metal bands through the 90s and just wanted to have a musical outlet, a studio project of sorts while I was going to university after leaving Dying Fetus. I had a song ready (Manufacturing Greed, which was supposed to be a Dying Fetus song) and Mike had a couple, so we decided to hire Kevin Tally (also recently of Dying fetus) to do the drums for us. After that it was more or less just selling the first demo for a year or so and then we got some label interest and signed to Nuclear Blast shortly thereafter.

All of the bands LPs except for Retaliate have been released through Relapse Records. How do you feel about the label and your label mates?
Love em to death, we feel liked and supported with Relapse, and perhaps our close proximity is a factor with us being in Maryland and them in PA, but the relationship goes back to the nineties and beyond, and its cool to know we can always approach them directly if there are any problems.

The bands latest album, Heirs to Thievery, was released in May of 2010. Can you tell me a little about the  album? The writing and recording processes, etc.
We wrote the album over 4 to 5 months in late 2009, and it was something we spent more time and energy on than any previous experience. We were writing and rewriting almost daily and we actually recorded the whole album at a friends home studio first to demo it and tweek it to our liking. Once it was ready, we had 10 songs by recording time but we got one more together right before the drums were done (Day of the Dead) so we decided to put that on there as well to give it another punkish track to balance out what is heavily death metal metal record. The recording process took place over 4 weeks at Wrightway Studio in Baltimore, Maryland, and it was a very fluid and unstressed process. We are very happy with the result and would only change 1% of it if we could.

You are currently working on a split album with Lock Up. How is that going and when can we expect it?
Well its a split 7″ , we are tracking 1 song for that this month at some point. I am not sure when it will be out or on what label, but I have been in contact with them and they already have their song ready, so once we get ours in the bag we will figure it out.

There were four cover songs on the compilation, Pulling Out The Nails. Which one was the best to work on?
They are all fun to work on, we even had another one (a cover of Brutal Truth’s Birth of Ignorance on the Retaliate album) but I would say the Terrorizer one came out the best. We are very happy to send a tribute to the bands we like, and we have not recording anything in a while, so perhaps it is time again.

Have you seen an evolution in the bands sound since its inception?
Certainly, I see two phases. The first was from 2001 to 2005 when we had the old lineup, and then from 2005 to today we sort of started over with Mark and Adam, now they are the primary driving force behind the band and although I still write lyrics and music, Mark has really stepped up and produced some great riffs in recent years. The evolution since they joined the band has been phenomenal and we have sort of arrived I would say with the last album, its a perfect summation of what we are aiming to do.

Tell me a little about Anarchos Records.
Its an imprint we use on the albums we press ourselves, its not a real label in any sense, just a name to give our releases an identity of sorts, so do not expect anything else soon!

The bands sound has been called “deathgrind” and “death metal with hardcore punk influences.” How would you, personally, describe the bands sound? Who or what are some of your personal influences?
I would say we are a death metal band more than anything else, with the obvious grindcore and hardcore punk influences taking a heavy slot. We like all forms of metal and even a lot of grind and crust, so we are very comfortable performing with all kinds of bands in the live setting, or drawing influence from other bands in the spectrum that are no where near what we sound like. In the end, I think we have arrived at our own sound, and as far as my own influences, they stem a lot from death metal (Morbid Angel, Carcass, Entombed, Bolt Thrower etc) to crust and grind (Tragedy, From Ashes Rise, Victims, Nasum).

What was the best or most influential festival or show you ever attended?
As far as influential it would have to be the good shows of yesteryear, that inspired me to do this shit 20 years on…I suppose the Sepultura/Obituary show in Washington DC in Dec of 1990 was an eye opener, as well as the Death / Carcass show in DC 4- 3 months earlier. After that, I guess it might be Dissection in 96, Dimmu Borgir in 97, and Tragedy in 2002.

Are there any newer bands whom you would like to take out on the road with you?
Sure, I am into the new stuff from this band Afgrund from Sweden/Finland, as well as Unkind from Finland, and then there is Murder Construct from the states, Drudgery from Canada, and Rottenness from Mexico. In Maryland we have a killer new band called Condemn the Infected, which are a very technical and highly talented band of young dudes.

What else is in store for Misery Index in 2011?
We are laying kind of low, with just some touring in other countries, like fly-in shows to Colombia and Indonesia, and European Festivals this summer. Either way its looking good and fun, but I do not think a new album will be out until late in 2012 if then.

Be sure to pick up Misery Index’s latest album, Heirs to Theivery out now on Relapse Records and keep a look out for the 7″ Split with Lock Up coming soon! (Click the album cover to enter Relapse Record’s Store!)


Review: The Secret – Solve Et Coagula

I don’t know why I passed on this album for so long. The Secret are an amazing band that I have been into for quite a while. They have an great sound and have not let me down yet. “Cross Builder” opens with a lot of feedback and evil screams that slowly lead in. The drums come in with a very doom-y tempo. This song is very reminiscent of Hooded Menace to me. at 3:11, the rest of the band chimes in, which creates a very eerie and melancholic atmosphere. I am loving this. Nice doom riffing with outstanding vocals laid perfectly into the mix. This song is a great example of how to start off an album. “Death Alive” opens with pure, unadulterated grinding. I am instantly reminded of Trap Them. The vocals are not quite the same at Ryan McKenney’s, though. Close, but not exact. I am instantly headbanging to this chugging, punishing track. The vocals are emotional and strong. Nothing is held back whatsoever. This is a band that lays everything out on the table and is not afraid to do what they have to do. Fucking amazing. “Double Slaughter” picks right up where “Death Alive” ended. The same evil atmosphere encases this track. Crusty hardcore elements are very evident but they do not overshadow the grindcore and black metal influences which are also very clear. “Where It Ends” is the shortest track on the album, but that does not make it any less qualified to be praised. Melodic lead guitar riffing makes this track very interesting with all the madness flying around like bullets. Absolutely killer. “Antitalian” is equally as brutal as any track before it. This track holds a lot of those hardcore elements that I mentioned before. I like the straight up riffing that this band encourages. They don’t fuck around with simple chugging around every turn like a lot of bands. I fucking love these vocals. “Weathermen” opens with even more crusty goodness. I cannot help but repeat myself: fucking madness. This band is chock-full of so many different genres they they should have their own. I’m not even sure I know how to break this down. Complex riffing, machine gun drumming and more amazing vocals. What is not to like about The Secret? Another taste of doom! As the song closes in it’s last minute, that chugging doom factor from the intro track creeps back it. This entire album has had a creepy atmosphere and it is very apparent at moments like these. “Pleasure of Self Destruction” is a riffing mad house. Outstanding guitar work and pummeling drum patterns. I sometimes get bored with vocalist who don’t change up their routine, but that is not the case with Marco Coslovich. I absolutely love his vocals. I am almost reminded of The Abominable Iron Sloth, which is another band I fucking adore. I love the groove in the last minute or so of this track. This is definitely a head-nodder. Straight up gnar. “Pursuit of Discomfort” is much in the vein of it’s predecessor. It’s grooving and melodic but at the same time grinding and punishing. I can say nothing bad about this band whatsoever. Every song so far has kept me extremely interested. Their sound and the structuring of these tracks is unbelievable. This band will definitely stand out for a long time. No doubt about that. I cannot believe I am over half-way through this album. I don’t want it to end. This could easily been in my Best Of List last year. Damn me! Why did I have to wait so long! “Bell of Urgency” is faded in directly from the previous track and opened with an evil as fuck lead guitar riff. That doom-y atmosphere is returning. This track is much like the album opener. You slowly get more and more pieces of the puzzle. Those tortured vocals are back. The amount of musical talent this band possesses is out of this world. Every single member of the band plays an equal part. No one is left behind. That is a trait that I find very admirable in today’s music. The vocals, especially, are not overpowering at all. They don’t soar overhead. They sit tightly with the rest of the instruments. I am again reminded of Hooded Menace as the song progresses. Feedback ends the track and another amazing lead riff opens the next, “Eve of The Last Day.” I don’t think it is an accident that the three of the longest tracks on the album (“Cross Builder,” “Bell of Urgency” and “Eve of The Last Day”) are all 5:12. They all have the same structuring as well and after a second listen, they are the same.”Cross  Builder” is different to an extent, but they all use the same idea. Wow. That doom-y atmosphere with the lead riff opening. Fucking amazing. This just goes to prove that this band pays attention to detail and planned for this album to come out exactly as it did. “War Desire” goes back to the grinding sensation that was some of the earlier track. Pure and a straightforward crusty monster. This track is sure to get you back into the grooving, hardcore movement that got you going at the albums start. This track does hold a similarity to those previous. A lead riff plowing it’s way through another atmospheric moment. The track burst back into the violent melee of grindage right before the track closes. “1968” opens with… You guessed it, dirty, hardcore inspired metal! This track is great right off. Throughout the grind, there is layer of melody and my affection for this band grows greater and greater. Love the lead guitar around 1:50. The song begins to evolve into a more sludge-laden, grooving track as it progresses. Which isn’t a bad thing, or even something that I am surprised at. This band is all over the place. The song takes a turn for the creepy as feedback and droning chords slowly fade out. I can sum up my impression of this album in three words. Holy. Fucking. Shit. I love this band, this album. Amazing work from The Secret.

Band Spotlight: Teratoma

I checked my inbox this morning and came across an e-mail from a band. This band sent with the e-mail, a professionally produced/directed music video and a press release. I was awe struck. It’s not every day I get e-mails from unsigned bands who have been able to pony up the dough for a music video. I watched the video (see below) and was very impressed. I did, however, have to go to the band’s MySpace page to listen to other songs. I didn’t want one good song make an impression on me and the other songs be not as good. Once again, I was impressed. This band has a very talented vocalist, which was the first thing I noticed. The second thing I noticed were the complex riffing being put out by the stringsmen. After listening to a few songs by Teratoma, I can easily say that if you are into Job For a Cowboy, you will love Teratoma. That is what I can best describe them as. Not old, shitty JFAC. More along the lines of Ruination. Pretty killer. Also for fans of Graves of Valor and The Famine.

Teratoma’s press release:

ter-a-to-ma : a tumor consisting of different types of tissue, as of skin, hair and muscle, caused by the development of independent germ cells.

sin-u-tal : an epic clash between a sound that is both
sinister and brutal.

Formed in the spring of 2008,
TERATOMA is a groovy, ever evolving metal sound scape of surreal narratives.  Five multi-influenced individuals collaborating to create a sinutal opus of tales and legends.  Crafting power and imagination to present an invention of compelling vehemence.
We are the captains  navigating this vessel and these songs our log, our stories, our savage memoirs.

In 2009 the band entered into a battle of the bands. After winning all three rounds the band took their prize money (and then some) to record their first EP entitled “Personatropolis” with Joshua Wickman at Dreadcore Productions.  Performed in front of a sold out crowd in their hometown for the CD release.  Shortly after the release, 101.1 The WRIF Midnight Metal’s Al “Slayer” Beck took an interest in the music and began playing the songs on the air, which are still available for request.

In 2010, Teratoma played many local and national bills including headlining the second stage at The Summer Slaughter Detroit date.

The band also teamed up with Greg Mitchell for their self produced music video “Take Two of These (Call Me In The Morning)”.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8rBAfbyNDE

Our music is featured on a regular rotation being played nationally through out all Spencer Gift Stores as part of the unsigned artists block.

We are currently working on the new album for a 2011 release.

Over the years, We have had the privilege to share the stage with signed acts such as:

Abacabb,The Absence, After The Burial, The Analyst, Bleed The Sky, The Breathing Process, Bury Tomorrow, Dr.Acula, Ekotren, Knights of The Abyss, Molotov Solution, Mushroomhead, Otep, Silent Civilian, Straight Line Stitch, Stray From The Path, Taproot, Upon a Burning Body, Veil of Maya, Within Chaos, Within The Ruins

As well as many of our peers:

Zak & What Army, Rising From The Ashes, Flesh Eating Flesh, Battlecross, Osho, Bite The Curve, Tombstone .38’s, Bride Stripped Bare. The Delenda, Hell Rides North, Messin With Texas, Winterus

Headlined the second stage at Harpo’s in Detroit for “The Summer Slaughter 2010” with…

Decapitated, The Faceless, All Shall Perish, The Red Chord, Veil of Maya, Cephalic Carnage, Decrepit Birth, Carnifex, Animals as Leaders, Vital Remains