A punishing American death metal crew who season their seismic sonic output with a generous amount of grindcore and punk, Misery Index take their name from the grim indicator that determines how the average citizen is doing economically in relation to the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate. It’s also the name of the final album from Florida deathgrind legends Assück, whose aural malevolence helped to inform the group’s uncompromising sound. Since debuting in 2003 with the Nuclear Blast-issued Retaliate, Misery Index have gone on to release a string of acclaimed extreme metal tomes including Traitors (2008), The Killing Gods (2014), Rituals of Power (2019), and Complete Control (2022).
Founded in Baltimore in 2001 by bassist/vocalist Jason Netherton and drummer Kevin Talley, both of whom previously served time in stalwart Maryland-based technical death metal/grindcore outfit Dying Fetus, and guitarist/vocalist Mike Harrison, the group began as a studio project before branching out onto the stage. They announced their arrival that same year with a self-released EP entitled Overthrow, and another Dying Fetus alum, guitarist Sparky Voyles, joined the group in time for a 2002 split release with Commit Suicide. A grueling tour schedule helped bring Misery Index to the attention of Nuclear Blast, which released their full-length debut, Retaliate, in 2003.
Two years later, a retooled lineup consisting of Netherton, Voyles, and newcomers Mark Kloeppel (vocals/guitar) and Adam Jarvis (drums) inked a deal with Relapse Records, resulting in the release of the band’s sophomore full-length effort, Discordia, in 2006. 2008’s Kurt Ballou-produced Traitors proved to be one the group’s most successful outings, earning accolades from critics and fans alike, as did 2010’s Heirs to Thievery, which pushed the band into headlining slots both at home and abroad. Voyles left the fold shortly after the album’s release and was replaced by new lead six-stringer Darin Morris, who made his studio debut on 2014’s acclaimed Killing Gods, the band’s first outing for new label Season of Mist. Rituals of Power, Misery Index’s sixth studio long-player, followed in the spring of 2019. The group inked a deal with Century Media ahead of the release of album number seven, 2022’s lean and unrelenting Complete Control.