Review: Pale Misery – Black Candles and Gutter Scum

So, there’s an elephant in the room with this one: the vocals are some of the most raw and torturous found within any extreme music genre and it really gives Louisiana blackened crust outfit Pale Misery a unique selling point in a genre pool where it can be easy to get lost in the fog. Black Candles and Gutter Scum opens with a softly grating drone leaning towards the ambient, with processed feedback giving way suddenly to a classic tremolo black metal intro. The use of a sample to open the album is an underused touch in recent years.

The processed sounding, super-speed crust/punk beats add an element of order to the overall miasma of noise, with sudden stops to herald the end of each track. The middle eastern sounding guitar riff at the start of ‘Live Fast and Die’ (which is a brilliant title and might well need to be the worlds new global phrase at this rate) is a nice added touch. The track’s half time groove outro shows a versatility that can be a welcome break from the pitter-patter hail on a rooftop intensity of black metal.

‘The Only Cure’ starts with a screeching and grating solo acapella vocal which cuts like a knife. It’s kinda like junk yard black metal for normal people; it’s still got some of the majesty of its brethren, but it’d also punch your teeth out for your pocket change, you feel? The change in tone between slow half time sections and the black metal inspired sections are a nice counter-play to keep the listener interested.

The whole album has a nice rumble throughout, an overall “swing and a hit” for Pale Misery. If a black metal styled album can roll, this one does. Enjoy you crusty heroes.

Pale Misery is out now and available to purchase here.

Words: James Clarke

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