Looking at This Is Hell’s track record so far would make anything that the band put out in the future real easy to sell to anyone. For anyone playing the home game, so far they’ve already got a (no pun intended) hell of a debut album, a great split with another upcoming heavy-hitter called Cancer Bats and a pair of EPs that only further cement this band into the forefront of modern hardcore. And now, after two years This Is Hell has finally taken that next step forward with their new full-length, Misfortunes.
But listener be warned: Anyone here expecting Sundowning Pt. 2 will be partially disappointed. This new record has got a few tweaks that makes it stand out sonically from everything else This Is Hell has done so far. For instance, all the vocals, guitar and bass were all recorded at Full Force Studios in New York while the drum tracking was done at a place called Killingsworth Recordings. They do mostly death metal albums, and they really helped give This Is Hell a more ominous atmosphere they were looking for. On Misfortunes, they definitely sound more raw, more aggressive and seemingly angrier than on anything before, and by now any remaining comparison to Give Up the Ghost has been left in the dust.
Right away, the first track (“Reckless”) is a swift, straightforward punch to the gut that immediately grabs your attention and leads you into “Infected,” which you may remember from the Cripplers 7” of last year. It’s been re-recorded and sounds absolutely wonderful; Travis Reilly’s vocals coincide with the dark and moody tone of the album so well and his jagged voice fits every song perfectly.
While it has the same number of tracks as Sundowning, Misfortunes runs at about ten minutes longer than its counterpart; you could attribute this to the next two songs, “Disciples” and “In Shambles,” which together fill up nearly ten minutes themselves. Despite defying one of the “rules” of hardcore and writing a rather lengthy song, This Is Hell kind of manage to pull it off well with “Disciples”'s underlying melodies and hooks (you won’t find too many on this record, though, so take advantage) and it also has a pretty rad breakdown (something that Sundowning lacked at some times) to boot. But putting the other long-player right after it can sometimes test your patience, especially if you want to hear what else there is to offer on the disc.
My one qualm with Misfortunes is its repetitiveness. By the middle of the record, the tracks start to run together because of how the body of the songs all stick to a similar formula. There isn’t one song on the album that I can really pick on, but personally I usually found it hard to play the whole thing in one sitting. But if you want to try it, I suggest checking out other standouts like “You Are the Antithesis” (it’s got the best guitar work of any of their songs by far), “Resuscitate” (with a great steady rhythm and snarling bassline) and “Last Days Campaign” (a slow-churning shout-along and a powerful closer).
This Is Hell only continues to improve themselves on every release they put out. They sound more massive than ever before and anyone still on the fence should take notice: This Is Hell is here to stay and they’ll make sure you know them whether you want to or not.