Misery Loves Co.

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By the time of the band's third and final album, Misery Loves Co. had not only found its own voice, it was quite a passionate, distinctive one. Wiren's singing, especially with regard to the quieter, more understated parts of the band's work, had a fuller strength, almost as if he was now fully unafraid to truly sing instead of simply roar (though he can certainly still do that, just nowhere near as often). In turn, it let the dark romanticism of songs like "On Top of the World" and "Damage Driven" really shine through, making the band somewhere close to the similarly informed work of the Deftones or God Lives Underwater in America. Örnkloo's music reflected this adjustment of focus, toning down chunky, in-your-face riffing at many points for an equally intense but more considered layering of feedback and textures. Such songs as the excellent title track and "Rise and Fall," one of the few tracks featuring second guitarist Michael Hahne, showcase this approach quite well, while the live drumming from Olle Dahlstedt also helps out things nicely. Perhaps the most dramatic and inspired moment, though, appears toward the end, with a cover version so astonishing it alone makes the album a worthwhile experience. As originally recorded by the Cure in 1981, "The Drowning Man" was a haunting piece of dark, queasy minimalism, Robert Smith's softly echoing guitar chime and unsettled imagery regarding emotional collapse a highlight of the Faith album. As transformed by Misery Loves Co., it keeps the same slow, uneasy pace but slowly and surely turns into an ever more epic rock-of-the-gods nightmare, concluding in a brutal sequence a million miles away from the original's cool flow yet still suiting the song perfectly. If this was the end for the band, it was still a fantastic way to go.

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