My Missing Half – A Proper Hangman’s Knot (Self-Released)Thursday, 9th June 2016
Like the old Virginia Slims cigarette ads tagged, My Missing Half has come a long way baby from their origins as a solo project for guitarist/vocalist Bijan Hennessey. Previously lavishing praise on the band’s melodic death metal debut album The Lives I’ve Ruined, the group has since traversed on a couple of self-financed tours up and down the East Coast, as well as opening for major acts in their genre including Dark Tranquillity and Omnium Gatherum. A Proper Hangman’s Knot is a five-song EP that digs even deeper into the band’s infectious melo-death sound, while also adding in unusual modern twists (think Gojira meets Between the Buried and Me) and harmonic/quieter passages to keep your brain and body standing at attention from first note to last.
Tackling subject matter of a more personal nature in “The Cell That I Call Home” and “Another Illness” that their growing audience can relate to – anxiety, depression, mental agonies, and hopelessness – into this explosive vocal and musical locomotive that twists and turns as if exorcising years of anguishing through these musicians’ output. The band definitely shed a lot of early influences that may have been a touch metal core enhanced and prefer to go into twin harmonic action and straightforward death pummeling that recalls the early days of In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, while drummer John Matthews runs roughshod over his kit, pounding the snare and double bass as if his life depends upon it for survival. “Sorrow Engraves” for instance has this mid-tempo guitar melody that In Flames should be calling upon these days but haven’t since probably the Whoracle days, Bijan shredding his abrasive voice to color his words with despair and pain – the music dropping out around the 2:29-2:45 mark with a beautiful, clean guitar part before bringing the song back to heaviness. Bassist Alex Elwell holds down the low end fort properly throughout, giving the twin guitar action more pop during the highlight closer “Erase Me” – the closing 40 seconds containing a wind-swept vocal effect as piano strides in and fades away.
The growth of this trio is stratospheric – seasoning their sound through a take no prisoners attitude on the live front. A Proper Hangman’s Knot proves My Missing Half is not just the best melodic death metal band in Massachusetts – they are standing on the plateau of the bigger label acts in this genre, and deserve your attention as such.