Church Of Misery - "Early Works Compilation"
(Leafhound Records 2004, LHR-0040/5)

From Aural Innovations #29 (October 2004)

Formed in 1996 in Japan, Church Of Misery (C.O.M.) are a Stoner/Doom quartet that are influenced by 70's heavy rock, Psychedelia and Black Sabbath in particular. They've also got a bit of an obsession with serial killers as evidenced by the lyrics on so many of their songs. This 2-CD, 16 song compilation includes all the tracks released prior to their Master Of Brutality album, including an unreleased track ("Retal"), and comes hot on the heels of their most recent full length album, The Second Coming, also on Leafhound Records (see review this issue).

C.O.M. wear their Sabbath influences on their shirt sleeves, but that's ok because if your tastes for Stoner rock run with the more psychedelic variety than you'll find that these guys are masters of the art. Both CD's are loaded with completely stoned, psychedelic, Black Sabbath inspired kick ass trip rockers with excellent guitar work from Hoshi, and all include tasty psychedelic stoner jam sections. One of my favorites is "Son Of A Gun", an outstanding 9 minute stretch out track that includes a brief jazz interlude that sounds pretty cool amidst the sludgy quagmire. Another highlight is "Road To Ruin", a stoned, bluesy, psychedelic, but still Sabbath worshipping 70's styled HEAVY rock number. It's seriously heavy but far more melodic, rather than doomy, than much of C.O.M.'s music. "War Is Our Destiny" is a rip yer heart out metallic rock n roller that sounds like a cross between Black Sabbath and Motorhead. "Sick Of Living" is another slab of body slamming stoner metal with some raucous liquid trip guitar solos. "Come Touch The Sky", "Accident", and "Chains Of Death" are ultra heavy rock n roll tunes, the first two with a strong Hendrix flavor. "Retal" is the unreleased track and is a similar brain pummeling stoner rock n roller. And of course there's C.O.M.'s totally spaced out freakout cover of Iron Butterfly's "In A Gadda Da Vida". If you're a stoner-psych fan and haven't heard Church Of Misery yet, then this comp is an excellent place to start.

For more information you can visit the Church of Misery web site at:
Visit the Leafhound web site at:
Email at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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