We first encountered Une Misère at Iceland Airwaves 2017, and it was one of those magical examples of going to a venue to see one band (in this case Hatari) and being unexpectedly blown away by another. Une Misère’s live performance hits you like a runaway semi truck, barreling along at breakneck speed with utter disregard for any obstacle in its path. The sonic and psychic destruction is that complete, and we walked away that evening big fans. We saw them again just a week ago (below), and trust me when I tell you they haven’t lost a step. In fact they may even be picking up speed.
I kept tabs on them after that first exposure and was surprised to find their only output were some digital downloads on their Bandcamp page (and I strongly encourage you to check out 010717 HERE). How did these guys not have a deal, even one with one of the smaller Icelandic labels, to put out a physical release? Well, it took a while, but earlier this year it was announced that Une Misère were releasing their debut LP Sermon, and on Nuclear Blast nonetheless. I was lucky enough to track down a copy of the gold splatter edition while in Reykjavik last week (edition of 500), and this will be the first of many posts on Icelandic releases over the next few months as I dig through the pile of stuff we brought home.
For background on the band I refer you to a feature from earlier this year in the English language Reykjavik Grapevine HERE. The wide-ranging interview included all of the band members and provides a solid background into their history together and motivations.
Sermon captures Une Misère’s live intensity, a crossover of hardcore and thrash, aggro and insightful, the embracing of life’s pain that is necessary in order to overcome.
Struggle to fight the pain within,
I won’t give in,
I won’t give in.
Push every word you say,
They won’t hear you,
Feel my vengeance.
The power of the music comes at you from every direction. Pounding drums that sometimes transition suddenly to double bass and then back again, rage-fueled vocals, and not one, not two, but three shredding guitars fill the sonic space. But Sermon is well mixed and there’s room here for everything. “Failure” is the song that sticks out the most, a jam that maintains the core elements of Une Misère’s sound while being very intentionally structured. Yes, it has speed and power, but it doesn’t rely on them so much as it does sculpt them in a way that creates a specific shape and form. “Overlooked/Disregarded” is one of their earliest works, dating back to 2016, and it’s as powerful as ever on Sermon.
This is a killer record and a must-listen-to for those of you who like the hard stuff. You can sample it online HERE.