Named after an Assück album from 1996 (which itself was inspired by a human 'misery index' encompassing unemployment and inflation) this Maryland, Baltimore band was formed in 2001 by several former Dying Fetuses. Netherton left Dying Fetus out of boredom and only casually created this act. Mark Harrison was on guitars and vocals. Bruce Greig was on guitar for most of 2002 and 2003. In 2001, Voyles and Talley would join white trash band M.O.D. briefly. The band quickly issued its Overthrow demo through its own imprint, Anarchos Records. Bones Brigade introduced the band to a larger audience by issuing a split release with Aborted, Brodequin and Drowning. In 2002, Kevin Talley would audition for Slayer. Next came a split release with Commit Suicide through Willowtip. Structure Of Lies and Misery Index had a split 2003 album through Deep Six Records.
In unlikely fashion the death metal band obtained a deal with Nuclear Blast and delivered its debut full-length, Retaliate, in August of 2003. This album would be re-released on vinyl through Power It Up Records in February of 2011. A video for the song The Great Depression was also shot. In the spring of 2003, the band had headlined a tour with Skinless, Divine Empire and Dying Fetus.
Keeping up its incredible pace of activity Misery Index followed up with a DVD (DVD Vol. I) in 2004 through the aforementioned Anarchos. Another split release with Bathtub Shitter had the band reappear, albeit on Relapse. A video for the song Conquistadores was shot for the Discordia Album. The group toured Japan in 2006 with Neuraxis. The band was in Russia in 2008. Origin, Misery Index and Abysmal Dawn toured in 2008 under the Relapse Records Contamination tour banner. Black Dahlia Murder was conducting a Canadian tour in December of 2008 alongside Soilent Green and Misery Index. The band hit Europe in 2009.
Darin Morris joined in 2010. By this time three Criminal Elements had taken a majority in the act. After three albums through Relapse the band signed with Season Of Mist. Atypically, the first release with the French label was a live record, Live In Munich. The first studio album was 2014’s The Killing Gods. It was mostly engineered at Wright Way Studios in Baltimore, Maryland with drums being tracked at Bethesda. Morbid Angel, Misery Index, Dreaming Dead and Hate Storm Annihilation were touring the USA in April 2018. Origin substituted for Misery Index in May.
Through Netherton’s background and inclinations Misery Index maintains a political edge and lyrics.
MISERY INDEX - RETALIATE - NUCLEAR BLAST
It is rare for Nuclear Blast to sign death metal bands. It is even more rare for nuclear Blast to sign American death metal bands without a prior release. Misery Index, formed by two former Dying Fetus members, has a CD called Overthrow from 2001 to its name, but is otherwise a newcomer band for the purpose of this review.
Retaliate, probably the first encounter of most fans with the band, presents a trio for death metal fiends out for blood. The sound is strong and the music tight. The band is 'merely' fast, which is to say it does not go into the hyper-drive of a Hate Eternal or Disgorge, but is no slouch in the speed department either. If one criticism can be levelled at the band it is the less-than-perfect vocals of Jason Netherton. He does not quite get as deep and low as the genre-leaders like Frank Mullen or Chris Barnes during his Cannibal Corpse tenure. Netherton's delivery is more within the vocal range of Malevolent Creation - a band to which Misery Index has more than a passing resemblance. Overall retaliate is a punishing death metal album ridden with anger and aggression. Should the band add a couple of meaningful solos and a deeper voice next time around, Misery Index will go from 'good' to 'great.' In the meanwhile, Retaliate is a good album that will satisfy most death metal hounds. - Ali "The Metallian"