Sunday 16 December 2018

MISTY GREY ~ CHAPTER II ....... review

That master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock probably scared the pants of more people with his movies than many of today's directors with all their CGI and other special effects, movies that still stand the test of time 28 years after his death. Strange then that more underground bands/artists, who toy with dark edged themes, have not used his movies as inspiration for their grooves.
Spain's Misty Grey redress this unbalance with their latest release "Chapter II" (Topillo Records) an enthralling blend of occult(ish) rock and proto-doom based around seven of Hitchcock's most celebrated films.

Misty Grey divided opinion with their debut "Demon" and follow up "Grey Mist" in that there were many who found the bands Sabbath/Pentagram inspired proto-doomic grooves very much to their liking but just could not get a handle on. original vocalist, Malicia's distinctive witch/crone like tones (personally we quite dug them). Malicia and Misty Grey have since parted ways and with "Chapter II" the band introduce us to their new vocalist Bea and although not too dissimilar to Malicia in tone Bea does bring a wider range and less abrasive edge to the bands sound. Bea's wider vocal range and the bands more mature and focused approach pays huge dividends on the albums first track "Spellbound", its classical tinted intro exploding into a swinging proto-doom groove, enriched by an equally swinging vocal melody, fleshed out by a series of both subtle and drastic time changes.. Next track "Strangers On A Train" mirrors Hitchcock's movie plot, of two men meeting (supposedly) randomly on train and discussing how to commit the perfect murder, in both its chugging riff heavy groove and its lyrical content. "Psycho", probably Hitchcock's most famous movie, is well represented here with thundering percussion pounding beneath slow, heavily distorted, riffage the foundation over which dark tales of a "sinister house rising from above" and "strange shadows moving thru windows lights" are told. Hitchcock's take on Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca" had a very fitting gothic vibe and Misty Grey perfectly capture that vibe by going for a more epic doomic feel with their musical adaption.," Frenzy" on the other hand, in keeping with Hitchcock's chosen London location for his film, has a very English feel, its slow atmospheric blues groove owing somewhat of a debt to Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused". "The Wrong Man" finds the band back in more familiar Sabbath/Pentagram territory deviated from only in its swinging melodic chorus. "From Among The Dead", a slow atmospheric dirge that then shifts into a Sabbath-esque mid tempo swagger, closes "Chapter II"  using the English title of Boileau-Narejac's novel "D'entre les morte", around which Hitchcock based his movie "Vertigo".

Misty Grey's "Chapter II" is "old school" without being "retro", an album that celebrates melody as much as it does riffage, an album with a concept that is not overthought or over complex, a tribute to a movie icon but also a damn good listen.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

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