REVIEW: Misfortunate Sons – Nowhere [EP/2014]


Artist: Misfortunate Sons

Album: Nowhere – EP


There’s so much to be said for a band including the nuances and novelties of their location into their music. For example, bands hailing from the hottest, sweatiest pits of the south somehow seem to simply…exude that lurid, gritty and gruffness into the riffs they write and slurred syllables they spit. The same is true of bands from just about every corner, nook and cranny of the globe—especially the Midwest’s finest in thrash-tinted, spastic hardcore: Misfortunate Sons. Their sophomore EP, Nowhere, takes every inch of frost and flake of snow that pounded their hometowns during this exceptionally bitter winter and articulates it with frigid, relentless precision. Nowhere is a bitter, frigid release that has riffs and instrumental dynamics that are as slick as black ice, but dissonant, gut-wrenching heaviness as pulverizing as the highway pile-ups that accompany it.

The first thing that truly hits the listener as they delve into the blizzard that is Nowhere has to be the sheer, skin-shredding pierce of the bitter, intense instrumentation Misfortunate Sons bring to the table. The rampaging, intense riffs that run rampant throughout the release whip and whistle right through the listener’s flesh and embed themselves deeply in their bones, bringing their marrow down to sub-zero temperatures. “Nowhere,” for example, opens with an eerie—yet catchy—guitar segment that launches immediately into a grinding, lacerating groove with splashy, crystal-clear cymbals backing it. This sort of instrumental dynamic fashions a sublime, snow-covered and sullen winterscape out of sheer sound that raises the hairs on the listener’s arms and forces them to see their own breath. Likewise, the EP’s concluding track, “Fall Apart,” does just that—slowly deteriorate into a more dismal and drawn-out demise, freezing the listener solid from the ankles, to the knees and hips, until, finally, by the time the track reaches it’s closing seconds, the listener is completely unable to move.

While the bitter cold of Misfortunate Sons’ Nowhere has its way of slicing its way deep into the listener’s body, it is more than capable of doing the same to their mind. As the listener forays deeper and deeper into Nowhere, desperately trying to brave the intense instrumentation, they are struck down by the sheer, maddening white-out of lyrical mastery and vocal ferocity. Vocalist Mack Moriarty lets loose with an entire array of visceral screams and rasping, rough shouts that range from sharp and clear to low-down-and-dirty. “Left Behind” is a brilliant example of this—using varied vocal techniques to amplify the desperation and voracity of the track’s lyrical content. This strategy is employed elsewhere on the brief EP, making it anything but monotonous—as it tends towards positively pummeling and marvelously maddening. “Fall Apart” is another prime example in this regard, as the vocals and lyrics meld together in perfect harmony until the songs tumultuous, dissonant undertones begin to bubble through the surface and force the track’s instrumentation into disarray. At this point, the vocals have no choice but to scatter to the winds, tempting the listener’s ears to follow even when there is absolutely no hope.

Together, the fierce fretwork, punishing percussion and diverse display of vocal techniques, these aspects create a brilliant dynamic that is neither one-hundred percent cohesive, nor is it half-hearted and whimsical. Instead, it is a perfect example of thrash-tinted, chaotic and unpredictable hardcore. With riffs and catchy one-liners that would make Every Time I Die proud, yet vocals that range from Suburban Scum to Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Nowhere is a complex chimara of influences and techniques that, ultimately, is completely unique. While portions of “Left Behind” and “Nowhere” have an almost metallic, chug-heavy feel to them, “Liquid Clock” and “Fall Apart” are dissonant and almost remind the listener of blackened, crust-punk styles of hardcore. The only true way to describe Nowhere is just that—it is the sound that hails from the deepest, most untouched and unknown parts of the Midwest, where bitter cold and frost reign so supremely that everything they touch turns to ice.

While the listener mind find themselves short of breath, or frozen solid upon their first spin through Nowhere, it (probably) isn’t due to actual sub-zero temperatures. Rather, as winter is fading into spring and the slow thaw is beginning to make itself apparent, Misfortunate Sons freeze the listener with sheer shock and awe. Brilliant musicianship, creative use of vocals and intense, riveting lyrics make Nowhere a release that begs the listener to get lost in and never rescued from.



For Fans Of: Suburban Scum, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Terror, Every Time I Die, Curl Up and Die

By: Connor Welsh