Japan's purveyors of serial killer themed doom metal are back with their seventh studio album for Rise Above Records, Born Under a Mad Sign. As always, the titles of their albums are always a fun play on a known album or song, and here is no exception, and as we've come to expect, each track (save for one cover) is based on an infamous serial killer. With their thick, Black Sabbath brontosaurus riffing, gravelly/grimy/gruff vocal delivery, and lurid lyrical content, Church of Misery aren't always for everyone, but if you are regularly drawn to doom metal of this nature, these guys are one of the best in the business. With so many serial killers documented in the history books over the last few hundred years, the band have plenty of inspiration for future songs and albums, and here they've hand selected notorious criminals such as Fritz Harmann, Randy Kraft, John Allen Muhammad, Robert Hansen, David Koresh, and H.H. Holmes to provide the storylines. Surrounding all that are some truly monstrous riffs, bulbous bass, and piledriving drums, with founding member and constant bassist Tatsu Mikami leading the charge. Also appearing on Born Under a Mad Sign are guitarist Yukito Okazaki, returning vocalist Kazuhiro Asaeda, and drummer Toshiaki Umemura.
Highlights include the near 10-minute masher "Most Evil", the doom laden biker rock of "Freeway Madness Boogie", the crushing "Beltway Sniper", the slow, ponderous, and quite psychedelic "Murder Castle Blues", the riff-tastic "Come and Get me Sucker", and the massive doom/psych mashup that is "Butcher Baker"...well, I just named them all save the cover, "Spoiler", originally done by the great underground heavy rock act Haystack's Balboa, and that's really cool too. Not a bad song here to be honest, and while it's probably too soon to figure out where Born Under a Mad Sign sits in Church of Misery's fine catalog, this one is a no brainer for doom fans who can't get enough of the mighty riff.
01 Beltway Sniper (John Allen Muhammad)
02 Most Evil (Fritz Harmann)
03 Freeway Madness Boogie (Randy Kraft)
04 Murder Castle Blues (H.H. Holmes)
05 Spoiler (Haystack's Balboa cover)
06 Come And Get Me Sucker (David Koresh)
07 Butcher Baker (Robert Hansen)