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Church Of Misery: Thy Kingdom Scum

All killer, no filler from stoner sicko crew

They may not be the only Sabbath-influenced band to sing exclusively about serial killers, but Church Of Misery are certainly the only ones in living memory that have embraced their riff-driven macabre shtick with such alacrity and dedication. It also makes a significant difference to the Japanese quartet’s ongoing reputation that their ability to churn out astonishing riffs of near-Iommi quality shows no signs of diminishing as they unveil this, their fifth full-length album.

COM have always understood that to truly tap into the essence of Sabbathian glory, this shit needs to swing, and Thy Kingdom Scum does precisely that. Less sonically brutal than 2009’s Houses Of The Unholy, these songs crackle and fizz with the energy of true live performances and there are numerous moments when the band sound utterly immersed in the freewheeling abandon of pot-addled jamming telepathy, as vocalist Hideki Fukasawa growls and gurgles in the foreground like some hellish, blues-battered master of ceremonies.

This may well be the strongest collection of material they have released to date. Music aside, a new Church Of Misery album always presents an opportunity to delve into the world of swivel-eyed maniacs, and fans of mass murder and sexual deviance will discover plenty to plague their sleeping brains here.

While Brits may allow themselves a shudder during the Brady and Hindley-inspired Lambs To The Slaughter and Cranley Gardens, a tribute to Muswell Hill necrophiliac Dennis Nilsen, it will be references to the less familiar likes of Dennis Rader, whose ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’ manifesto is (sort of) celebrated here on B.T.K., and Peter Kurten, the Dusseldorf Monster, whose startling murder and sexual assault tally made him Germany’s most reviled nutjob during the late 1920s before he was executed by guillotine in 1931, that will either keep you awake or give you the sort of vicarious buzz that is probably best kept a secret from the rest of the world. You fucking weirdo.

All splendidly disgusting fun, of course, and given the strangely uplifting nature of Church Of Misery’s swaggering grooves, genuinely subversive in a way that very few bands even dare to attempt these days.