Published Nov 26, 2019In the mid-'90s, Swedish industrial band Misery Loves Co. signed to the formidable Earache Records and quickly became a shining star among their evolving roster, which was already stretching the definition of extreme music. The brilliant duo of Patrik Wirén and Örjan Örnkloo crafted rave-worthy anthems, with ample references to labelmates Godflesh and Pitchshifter.
Their eponymous 1995 debut was a huge hit for the band, and earned them a Swedish Grammy. Perhaps waiting too long to release their second album, 2000's Your Vision Was Never Mine to Share, the band lost their initial momentum and slipped into obscurity. In 2017, however, Wirén and Örnkloo joined with pre-debut guitarist Michael Hahne and quietly began to release a string of new singles, culminating two years later with Zero, their first full-length album in nearly 20 years.
Opener "Suburban Breakdown" hits all the targets that made their debut gigantic, and allowed the then-burgeoning scene (fuelled by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein) to grow exponentially. "A Little Something" and "Dead Streets" borrow Tool-like beats and textures to expand upon the group's melodic industrial sound, as if Tapping the Vein were covering Fear Factory. The title track features tight guitar chordage and a moody nod to NIN's "Head Like a Hole."
"Only Happy When It Rains" is a slower number, spotlighting their deftly constructed, Stabbing Westward-esque heavy rock. "Way Back Home" is almost Killing Joke-like in its delivery, while "Would You?" could be influenced by Filter or even Bush. While it may appeal to current fans of the Ministry-reared industrial stars 3Teeth, the exceptional Zero is best consumed with strong, rock-based expectations. (Black Lodge)