"Thy Kingdom Scum"

By Earthdog

I think it would be fair to say that the whole serial killer angle that some doom bands follow got old many years ago and slowly turned into a well-used cliche. However there is one band that can still get away with it and that is one of the bands that started it all - Church of Misery. It has been 12 years since the bands debut onslaught of murderous doom 'Master of Brutality' was unleashed and this album displays that the band have no intention of mellowing out gracefully. 'Thy Kingdom Scum' is one of their heaviest albums overall but it also has the best production the band has ever had so far. This album sounds huge but it is the performance of its members that really steal the show on this album.

The vocals are as un-human as they have always been. Vocalist Hideki Fukasawa is well.....over the top, no other way to describe the insane, chaotic way the lyrics are presented here and they are a perfect match for the violent guitar, drum and bass work that is disturbing, even during the more mellow moments, not that there is much of that. Stylistically, Church of Misery haven't really changed much since their humble beginnings. Despite line-up changes, the band still have a purposeful clear direction and they obviously have no intention of messing with it at this stage of the game. Over the years they have glorified the likes of The Night Stalker, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy but this time around, it is crazies like Dennis Rader and Gary Heidnik that get the COM treatment. Whether you see this subject matter as bad taste or not, it is at the very least entertaining lyrically speaking, and this album has their best lyrics to date but don't expect to understand any of it without the help of a lyric sheet. The vocals here are indistinguishable, psychotic ramblings and for the most part are as unpleasant as the people they are writing about.

First two tracks on the album set the mood and style for the rest of the album. 'Thy Kingdom Scum' opens with "B.T.K" which is a track about Dennis Rader. With brooding intensity, the band deliver a hellish roller-coaster of a tune that doesn't offer any surprises but at the same time, gives a fan of the band everything they could possibly want from a Church of Misery song. The following tracks 'Lambs to the Slaughter (Ian Brady / Myra Hindley)' and 'Brother Bishop (Gary Heidnik)' contain some of most grim, bleak and violent doom metal ever produced. The riffing is nasty and sabbathian, the bass work can only be described as sinister but there are grooves here to die for. One thing I read in another review (sorry, can't remember where) asked the question, "why has this band been given the "stoner-doom" tag and that is a valid question. This is pure doom and while it has more grooves that the average band, the stoner tag doesn't fit the sonic intensity this band unleash for almost 50 minutes on this release.

The odd tune out is a cover of the Quatermass track 'One Blind Mice' but in typical Church of Misery style, they make the tune their own. In fact, anyone not knowing anything about the early 70's UK prog band would never know this song is indeed a cover-version. This song comes in at number 5 out of 7 in the playing order and what makes this album as strong as it is, unlike some other COM albums, 'Thy Kingdom Scum' seems to get better the longer it plays. The last track on the album 'Düsseldorf Monster (Peter Kürten)' is close to 13 minutes of the strongest doom metal you will ever hear from the band. This album doesn't get stuck in "repeat-mode" like some of their albums do , either. There are timely tempo-changes and it has a flow about it that the band has struggled to find with past efforts.

Church of Misery seem to go from strength to strength. 'Thy Kingdom Scum' is Church Of Misery's most consistently satisfying album released to date.....9.5/10.