Church of Misery – Thy Kingdom Scum (Metal Blade/Rise Above)

Friday, 12th July 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

Like Macabre, Japan’s Church of Misery know of only one subject: serial killers. Whereas Macabre make you feel like you’re watching one of those specials on E! that chronicle some sadistic freak’s life, Church of Misery gradually brow-beat you with plain doom riffing, devoid of emotion and character, performed without the narrative that accompanies Macabre’s jams. Perhaps it’s a novelty thing; doom band from the Far East, obsessed with killers from the West, but as usual,  it doesn’t go very far on Thy Kingdom Scum, the band’s fifth album.

Predictable Sabbath stoner worship is in play across the album’s seven tracks, which totals roughly 50 minutes. The fuzz wrapped around new guitarist Ikuma Kawabe’s amp is like centuries-old moss, yet is dauntingly heavy, sure to shake some speakers and foundations. Looking to let their tunes function in space, the burn-out on “B.T.K” (about Kansas serial killer Dennis Rader) sets the tone, essentially kicking around those blues-addled Master of Reality riffs. The formula is recycled throughout the rest of the album, even on the cover of Quartmasses’ “Three Blind Mice,” which we’re not sure how it fits into the grand scheme of fiends and evil-doers.

With fellow countrymen Coffins  having done well for themselves with The Fleshlands, Church of Misery might find themselves overshadowed for the first time in the career. Thy Kingdom Scum takes no chances, rolling around self-created mass of on-ten distortion, messy serial killer themes, and ultimately, remarkably average stoner doom.

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