Thursday, November 3, 2011

Misguided Aggression - Flooding The Common Ground - Formal Review

Misguided Aggression, a groove metal band from Woodstock, Ontario, aren't the biggest name in Metal, but they should be more well known. They gained some fame with their 2009 album Hatchala and have now graced us with a follow up album entitled Flooding The Common Ground.

The album starts with an eerie intro, setting the tone for the entirety of the disc. A slightly distorted voice tells a story about how he was brainwashed by the media to believe that everyone in the Middle East deserved to die after 9/11. It’s a disturbing image, but an image you want to hear more about. Your interest is piqued.

'Winter's Soldier' hits you with a bang.  A snare rattles off like a machine gun, pinch harmonics scatter throughout, and throaty screamed vocals make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It almost makes you uncomfortable, but you can’t stop listening. Then a bit of a surprise comes: “What makes the green grass grow? BLOOD!” We get what is possibly one of the best breakdowns in a long time. 'Winter’s Soldier' is definitely one of the best songs on the album.

The album is full of great songs like 'Winter's Soldier'. At a glance, things might seem simplistic, but upon further review you find some technical prowess and really well worked out songs. It’s got quite a number of breakdowns, though none of the breakdowns feel out of place, and the pinch harmonics scattered throughout really help pull the album together. The vocals are tense, raspy and dirty. For the most part they are mid ranged, but they aren’t afraid to go deep and shake your ears. The song Autonomy has a really long guttural that is a standout point of this album. The guitar work throughout the album is pretty fantastic, the Meshuggah influence is prevalent, but it’s got enough of its own style to keep you interested and coming back for more.

I can definitely praise Misguided Aggression’s ability to change tempos often and quickly while not jarring the listener too much. It gives you a sense of well thought out madness, it helps tie songs together, and keeps your ears on their metaphorical toes.

The title track, 'Flooding The Common Ground', is the closer for the album; and a great one at that. It starts with an unsettling two note beat that repeats for a few seconds before those throaty vocals tear into the song. The beat is still there, but much more expanded upon. We get to a breakdown about two minutes in and things start changing a bit until we are met with another even longer guttural that levels you, you can almost feel a weight on your chest. It, like the one in Autonomy, is another highlight of the album. The vocal work throughout is very good.

Overall, Flooding The Common Ground is a great release.  It doesn’t necessarily re-invent the wheel on groove metal, but it doesn’t really need to. It takes the ideas and executes them very well. If you want to listen to something heavy and grungy, look no further than Misguided Aggression.

You can buy the album on their bandcamp page. OR at least give them the streams!

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