For the last two decades, Church Of Misery have sawed off only the finest in uncompromising doom. The revered Japanese masters are lifelong practitioners of the genre, honoring and extrapolating upon the Sabbathian legacy from which all detuned life springs forth. Church Of Misery’s sixth and latest album, And Then There Were None, is another blood-soaked trip through homicidal hell, with songs inspired by killers both infamous and obscure. But while the murderous inspiration for the tunes remains the same, the cast of characters is almost completely new.
In 2014, Church Of Misery bassist and mastermind Tatsu Mikami was forced to assemble a new lineup for the band’s follow-up to 2013’s Thy Kingdom Scum. His chosen few reside on American soil: Blood Farmers guitarist Dave “Depraved” Szulkin, Earthride drummer Eric Little (ex-Internal Void) and Repulsion frontman (and former Cathedral bassist) Scott Carlson on vocals. “All the musicians involved in this album are undoubtedly the best in this scene,” Tatsu enthuses. “So you will enjoy listening to all play tastefully.”
And Then There Were Nonemarks Tatsu’s first Church Of Misery endeavor with foreign musicians. He, Szulkin and Little met in Maryland to rehearse the bassist’s riff-ready material. “It was a challenge because there was not much time to make this record—only two weeks,” he explains. “One week for rehearsals and then one week to record all materials. Before I arrived in Maryland, I was a little bit nervous. But after the first rehearsal, I knew it was gonna be a good album.”
Opener “The Hell Benders” takes its title from Django director Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 spaghetti western, which was itself inspired by the notorious Bender family murders that blackened frontier Kansas in the 1870s. “Make Them Die Slowly” takes its lyrical cues from the 1940s killing spree of John George Haigh, a.k.a. “The Acid Bath Killer,” who disposed of wealthy Londoners in a vat of sulfuric acid. Another British serial killer takes a nefarious turn in “Doctor Death,” which exhumes the more recent—but no less lethal—exploits of disgraced physician Harold Shipman. “Both Haigh and Shipman were suggested by Tatsu,” Carlson explains. “Shipman is sort of a British Jack Kevorkian, except that he left out the one small detail of victim’s consent!”
Carlson wrote all the lyrics for And Then There Were None, which also marks the first time he’s done vocals for a full-length album since Repulsion’s genre-inventing classic,Horrified. “I was afraid to listen to it for a while because I haven’t recorded a full album of vocals in almost 30 years,” he says. “Once Tatsu had mixed everything I listened back and was able to enjoy it. The riffs are so strong on this record that even my 50 year-old vocal chords couldn’t bring it down! I’m very pleased to be a part of this and I can’t wait for Church of Misery fans to hear it!”