Church of Misery are obsessed with serial killers. When Macabre wrote about Albert Fish, it matched their death metal sound. But when this Japanese four-piece does it, their ’70s grooves throw the lyrics off balance. They sing of infamous serial killers over groovy riffs. On this album, they make raging shotgun slayers sound fun and cannibalistic mass murderers sound fashionable. Since 1996, Church of Misery have flavored each song after a psychopath. Houses of the Unholy is no different. They deliver new killer identities, more Black Sabbath riffs, and enough drunken yells to rival all of San Quentin.
Houses of the Unholy (Rise Above, 2009) thrills like a Stephen King novel. Each track is a page-turner. James Oliver Huberty would’ve enjoyed “Shotgun Boogie” during his McDonald’s shooting spree. This is where the serious and humorous collide with Church of Misery. The party starts with a bluesy riff that’s out of control, climbing repeatedly. With nostalgic familiarity, this type of intro frequents their albums. A shotgun lock-and-loads along with spiraling drums, and the four minutes end with a cymbal crash and gun shot.
Similar cleverness sparks “Blood Sucking Freak.” Most of the songs include audio clips describing the killers’ motives. This one, about Richard Trenton Chase, tells how he kills, sucks blood, and eats flesh. Church of Misery aren’t afraid to change tempo, tone, and style mid-song. They do that here with psychedelic solos and interludes. It’s no surprise Church of Misery sport bellbottoms and long hair. With success, they relive the past on Houses of the Unholy.