Born Under a Mad Sign

Church of Misery

"Born Under A Mad Sign" is the seventh full-length album from the Japanese doom metal […]
June 27, 2023
Church of Misery - Born Under a Mad Sign album cover

"Born Under A Mad Sign" is the seventh full-length album from the Japanese doom metal band, CHURCH OF MISERY. This group has more than a predilection for serial killer lore. The majority of their songs are inspired by individual mass murderers, but that's just what's on the surface. When you dig deeper, you find that they are exceptionally talented musicians who have all but mastered the art of the riff. The first track, "Beltway Sniper (John Allen Muhammed)," begins with the sound of a rifle being cocked, followed by two gunshots. After that, archival news footage about his murders plays with several more gunshots firing. After the introductory footage fades out, a truly nasty riff plays. Then Asaeda's unmistakable raspy vocals can be heard. The riffs are fat, hazy, and interspersed with some ingenious blues vamps. They throw in a JIMI HENDRIX-inspired lead guitar solo and finish out this nearly nine-minute track with a hard and heavy breakdown.

"Most Evil (Fritz Harmann)" follows and lets loose with some feedback before getting things rolling. The entire intro is a long, filthy jam. When the vocals come in, they are just a little bit cleaner than Asaeda's trademark distorted rasps. Their riffs are heavily inspired by KYUSS. The main jam begins with a lead solo reminiscent of CLUTCH with hefty doses of fuzz and twang. Most of their songs feature sparse lyrics with long jamming vamps taking up the brunt of the runtime. "Murder Castle Blues (H. H. Holmes)" begins with a slow and spooky bass line that is right out of the BLACK SABBATH playbook. The lead guitar then comes in smoky and full of blues. This track is one of the slower-paced songs on the album. The guitar parts, played by session musician Yukito Okazaki, are equal parts soulful and heavy, with a crying solo in this song's case. The "killer" jam session near the end has notes of both KYUSS and THE SWORD. My favorite track is "Come And Get Me Sucker (David Koresh)." It opens with a voice-over of Koresh justifying his stockpiling of weapons with excerpts from the Bible. The raspy, noisy vocals are back in full force this time, and when Asaeda chants the song's title in the chorus, you can feel the defiance in your bones.

If you like fat, heavy riffs, and long bluesy jams, this album is for you. CHURCH OF MISERY has had some lineup changes leading up to the album's recording, but "Born Under A Mad Sign" is still one of their best albums to date. The grooves that they get into are inspired and should please any riff-head. If you held a gun to my head and forced me to pick a weak track, I would have to say that "Spoiler" doesn't hit in quite the same way as the others, but it is still worthy of their high standards. This album is a no-brainer. If you like doom metal even a little bit, you're sure to enjoy these seven twisted melodies.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"Born Under a Mad Sign" Track-listing:

1. Beltway Sniper (John Allen Muhammed)
2. Most Evil (Fritz Harmann)
3. Freeway Madness Boogie (Randy Kraft)
4. Murder Castle Blues (H. H. Holmes)
5. Spoiler
6. Come and Get Me Sucker (David Koresh)
7. Butcher Baker (Robert Hansen)

Church of Misery Lineup:

Tatsu Mikami - Bass
Kazuhiro Asaeda - Vocals
Toshiaki Umemura - Drums
Yukito Okazaki - Guitars

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