Album: Loathing – EP
A fog overtakes you and fills your head, pouring in through your ears and flooding your nervous system. Your heart fills with dread and malice, your blood simmers to a seething, bubbly boil and you see only red. You become a machine capable of nothing but sudden outbursts of scathing aggression, acted upon with nothing but demonic impulse and no sense of forethought. Your mind becomes free of fact and subtlety. Misgiver have filled your conscience, flooding your mind with their whirlwind EP, Loathing. Aptly named, Loathing is a sinister, short and sharp burst of neck-snapping hardcore with a downtuned, chug-heavy twist. It is a precise display of dissonant, devastating aggression, designed to hit the listener like a jab but linger like a blistering, raw burn.
Misgiver’s instrumentation is a murderous amalgam of raw, ravaging hardcore with an aura of deep, looming heaviness. Tracks like Loathing‘s opening number, “Isolation Sickness,” hit the listener like a cannon—roaring, deep and explosive. While the catchy, whip-like “Sneer” cuts deep with a careful balance between bouncy grooves and bone-snapping beatdown. At it’s core, Loathing has a fierce, furiously beating heart, manifesting itself through the percussive efforts of Joey Lanzillotto. Lanzillotto lets loose with punchy, pummeling percussion that gives Loathing a long, strong backbone. Whether it’s his bouncy two-step pattern on “Isolation Sickness” or the dazzling depth of his kick drum on “The Marble Town,” Lanzillotto is the sprawling foundation and forceful heartbeat of Misgiver. Lanzillotto’s percussion, however, is not without a dark, dynamic shadow–the grooves, riffs and plunking chugs of bassist Kody Breinlinger. Breinlinger has a simply beautiful bass tone that does exactly what it shout given Misgiver’s hardcore roots. Breinlinger spends a great deal of his time on Loathing lending bounce and snap to Lanzillotto’s raunchy drumming—however, “APD” and “Collecting Coffins” both see him work independently of Lanzillotto, and even escaping guitarist Paul Lares’ eclipsing fretwork to truly shine. Where Lanzillotto and Breinlinger give Loathing a snappy, punchy aspect, Lares lends his slow-burning, incredibly dissonant fretwork to the mix. Tracks like “Partially Deceased” and “Sneer” see him at his most dynamic, combining bouncy riffs with downtuned detours into the realm of downtempo deathcore, smothering the listener with metric tones of sustain and heaviness.
Depending on where you dive into Loathing, you might encounter a straightforward beatdown band or the lengthy chugs of a hyper-heavy deathcore band. However, where Misgiver’s musicianship changes on a whim, their vocal element stays steady and sinister throughout the EP’s incredibly brief runtime. Frontman Ryan Force is indeed a veritable force to be reckoned with. His harsh, high-strung barks on “The Marble Town” and “APD” are reminiscent of both Expire’s vocal style and Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris’ grotesque yells. However, his brooding lows throughout “Collecting Coffins” and “Sneer” offer a more unique and entrancing style that sees Force stepping outside his comfort zone to completely bash the listener’s head in. No matter what “mode” Misgiver are in, Force is able to dig deep and find a fitting vocal style, whether it’s a polar-opposite yell or an accompanying aggressive shout, he is a diverse and dynamic frontman who does the hardcore quartet great justice.
Where Loathing is packed full of various ratios of beatdown-to-brutal, it finds itself lacking where overall run time is concerned. True—It is an EP, but it feels that just as the listener is getting truly hooked in the raunchy onslaught of “APD” and “Collecting Coffins,” the album comes to an abrupt end. Furthermore, Loathing is still very much the sound of a band perfecting their sound. Where it is leaps and bounds better than the band’s debut split, it still comes across as maybe a little too influence by Expire’s harsh barks or Desolated’s devastating mash-up of deathcore and beatdown. While those are true, it still doesn’t detract from Misgiver’s incredible energy–as they let loose on the listener with everything in the tank, giving nothing but twelve minutes of terror and aggression. Loathing is fun from start to finish–not to mention devilishly heavy and catchy where the listener least expects it. If the incredible one liners throughout “The Marble Town” and “APD” don’t get stuck in your head, then nothing will. Furthermore, each musician brings something new and different to Misgiver that allows the band to escape accusations of plagiarism and monotony. Lanzillotto is a wrecking ball coated in flubber, swinging into the listener with lethal force but rebounding just as quickly. Breinlinger has a bass tone that simply leaves most hardcore bassists in the dust, while Lares gets unbelievably heavy with no warning. Loathing might not be this year’s longest or most original hardcore release, but it will be one of–if not THE–most fun.
Twelve minutes is all it takes for New York hardcore act Misgiver to take over your head. Aggressive enough to send senior citizens into a crowd killing frenzy and fast enough to leave Roadrunner in the dust, Misgiver are malicious and magnificent, with nothing but a bright future ahead of them.
For Fans Of: Expire, Desolated, No Zodiac, Knocked Loose
By: Connor Welsh