Misery Signals - Mirrors (Cover Artwork)

Misery Signals

Mirrors (2006)


Misery Signals' Of Malice and the Magnum Heart was easily one of the better metalcore releases over the last few years. Not only did they showcase some fine musicianship, but they were fronted by one of the genre's strongest vocalists in Jesse Zaraska. Between albums, however, Zaraska left the band and they replaced him with newcomer Karl Schubach. Zaraska was one of the defining parts of Misery Signals, so I was nervous to see how they sounded with a new vocalist.

It was only inevitable that the new vocalist couldn't live up to the expectations set by Zaraska, but I was hoping for the vocals to be at least somewhat passable. Of all the people they could have gotten to fill the vacant spot, they decided to pick up your dime-a-dozen hardcore vocalist. Karl Schubach literally just barks over every song. There's no variety, no range, no emotion, just him barking his head off. For the most part, it doesn't completely kill most of the songs, but when the music starts to slide in a little bit of melody, Schubach simply doesn't shine where Zaraska did.

Besides some of the most disappointing vocals on an album as of late, the music work here is once again top notch. If you don't pay close attention you might miss out on all the layered guitar work thrown in. Ryan Morgan and Stuart Ross shift back and forth between some chaotic metal riffs and some rather melodic guitar lines that create a similar atmosphere to their previous outing. Just listen to the clean break on "The Failsafe," which is easily the best moment on Mirrors. Other songs like the title track and "One Day I'll Come Home" also allow Misery Signals to showcase their musical ability. The only problem here is that some of the songs start to sound similar as the album goes on.

In the end, Mirrors could have been a genre defining album, but the vocals just don't work. The reason this band stood out was Jesse Zaraska, and his replacement can't keep up the pace, though it can't keep down all of the songs, as this band knows how to play their instruments. Still, that doesn't fix the album's flaws and Mirrors is left to be just another medicore album.