Une Misère – “Sermon” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Not content to have one junkyard dog barking for their label in Nails, the folks at Nuclear Blast have decided to unleash another höllenhund – this time from the land of fire and ice! Fast tracked following their win at Wacken’s 2017 Icelandic Metal Battle, setting fire to Roadburn and supporting Slayer along the way, comes Une Misère, a blackened metallic hardcore band that leaves scorched earth in their wake, although not without intellectual ponderance and artistic flair, judging by Niklas Sundin’s (Dark Tranquility) splendid cover capturing beauty and misery simultaneously. Indeed, as influenced by the stunning yet wild Icelandic landscape, Une Misère’s music certainly exudes hardness and harshness in abundance, yet the vivid contrast to illuminating ambience, as brilliantly orchestrated on ‘Overlooked – Disregarded’ cannot be understated, nor overlooked given its undoubted emotional reach. Clearly not content to just shred, this Icelandic wrecking machine go far deeper into the soul and psyche to raise the tension levels through the applied pressure of dense, abrasive guitars, hammering drums and the throat raw vocals of Jón Már Ásbjörnsson. On the slow and slithering ‘Damages’, the massive sound of the album is brought to bear wholly through the slow, colossal main riff that Crowbar would be proud of, complete with subtle warbling and feedback hints as Ásbjörnsson’s roars, backed by the rest of the band like a pack of slavering wolves. Chundering and crunching away bitterly on ‘Voiceless’, it’s the tight, jumping Machine Head like riffs that really hook into your skin as the double bass gallops hit them home further, albeit with a touch of respite in some mid song ambience driven by a heavy, brooding bass until the brutal stamping resumes to bring closure to this incredible release. Immense and intense, the “Sermon” of Une Misère is definitely worth heeding.