Portland, Oregon’s The Misery Men are set to release their third album, Devillusion, on Oct. 1 through Desert Records. It is a record that immediately wants some context, first for its homage to Chris “Snow Bud” Newman in the covers “Cat With Nine Lives” (premiering below) and “The Reaper.” Those tracks are by Newman-inclusive outfits Napalm Beach and Snow Bud and the Flower People and they appear here following Newman‘s death earlier this Spring and include different players from Portland’s underground than appear on the rest of Devillusion, save of course for The Misery Men founder Corey G. Lewis (vocals, rhythm guitar) and lead guitarist Rob Wrong, whom one might recognize from Witch Mountain or his work in The Skull circa 2019. Wrong also produced the album, with Lewis, at his newly established Wrong Way Recording Studio, though it’s easy enough to think that Billy Frickin’ Anderson, who plays bass, had some opinions to share in that regard as well, his engine-ear work being the stuff of legend at this point. Blah blah Neurosis, Sleep, Acid King, and if you need more names than that — you don’t — there are a million of ’em, right up to The Misery Men‘s 2020 album, Doomtopia (discussed here). While we’re talking about legends, Tad Doyle (TAD, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth) mastered.
The band proper, as opposed to the band doing the Newman tributes, is rounded out by Breath drummer Ian Caton, who also plays in the more meditative outfit Breathe, labelmates to The Misery Men on Desert Records. The mission here, which believe it or not given the swath of information above is stripped-down, digging to the roots of grunge where it turned from punk and noise to something thicker, groovier, and ultimately more its own. The Misery Men — Lewis, Wrong, Anderson and Caton — cap Devillusion with a cover of PJ Harvey‘s “To Bring You My Love” to emphasize the point, but it’s right there from the early, gritty chug of “Devil’s Balls” onward into the howl-laced “Werewolf” and the more decidedly punk “Iron Front,” sleek-but-lumbering riffs offset by Wrong‘s scorcher solos topped with Lewis‘ throaty delivery. In overall sound, the eight-song/38-minute course of Devillusion is lean and raw, suited to the style the band is leaning into, but as side B hits the brakes following “The Reaper” and plods out “Tardigrades” ahead of the more explosive “Nirüth,” which Cobain‘s out its ending lines as it invariably must, the procession of ideas is by no means disjointed. There’s a lot going on, one way or the other.
If you find that you’re somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that The Misery Men play out two of their eight inclusions here as a different lineup, or that you’re unfamiliar with Newman‘s work and concerned you might be missing something as regards hearing Devillusion, do what I do: put it on. The simple truth of the matter is that whether it’s the swing and swagger of “Cat With Nine Lives” taking hold after the “we don’t tolerate scum” reaffirmation of “Iron Front,” or the drawling, swirling conjurations of “To Bring You My Love” at the finish, The Misery Men make it easy on the listener. Riffs, grooves, guts. Whoever’s involved, when, where and why, the songs come together around Lewis‘ gruff vocals and around the baseline purpose of heavy, sludge-minded rock. The dive just happens to go deeper as well.
You can hear “Cat With Nine Lives” on the player below and watch the accompanying, shenanigans-laced video. What follows thereafter is info from Lewis about Devillusion, the process of making it and the reasoning why. It’s a lot, but if you didn’t like words, what are you still doing reading this?
The Misery Men, “Cat With Nine Lives” official video premiere
“I started writing Devillusion at the beginning of the Pandemic. 16 months of bloodletting 5 songs and 3 covers later we have an album. It was a therapeutic writing process to say the least. Inspired by the “Grunge” influencers in the PNW like Napalm Beach, Dead Moon, The Wipers, that definitely impacted TAD, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, etc. I wanted to pay homage to the folks who laid the foundation and paved the path that we walk down. I’m humbled and grateful daily that I have found a vortex that aligns with my frequencies to allow me through great collaboration to tap into the ether, transmutating a Rock n’ Roll album I feel proud to be a part of and co-produce with Rob Wrong. We all had a good time making this album. It’s been challenging but ever rewarding.
I had asked Chris Newman to collaborate on something, maybe lay down a solo or harmonize on a song or write something together, and at first he was very interested and excited once he recovered from surgery. Unfortunately his health took a turn for the worse and Chris passed May 5th 2021. So Rob and I decided we needed to honor him and record a couple songs. We contacted Sam Henry (Napalm Beach, The Wipers, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs) to play drums and it just made sense to have Kelly Halliburton (Dead Moon, Pierced Arrows, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs) to play bass. We also recruited Jeffrey Larson (Lucky 13’s, Misfortunes of Mr Teal) to play rhythm guitar along with Rob Wrong on lead, plus me just on vocals. We recorded “Cat With Nine Lives” by Napalm Beach and The Reaper by Snow Bud and the Flower People. Both songs were Chris Newman songs, that turned out pretty damn good! Hell, we didn’t even practice together before we recorded. 🙂
Again I recruited Billy Anderson to play bass again on this album, because beyond his ability of musicianship and his legendary enginear status he’s also a pleasure to be around. Hilarious, kind, and smarter than your average Neanderthal bassist. Ha! He also studied anthropology so he knows a thing or two about humans. Not to mention he played a Baseball growing up, so I figured he must really know what he’s doing with basses. Oh and he’s the master of Pun!
Once again Ian Caton of Breath is playing drums on this album. Talk about a Beast Of Burden, what an absolute animal! He usually doesn’t have a problem playing any style or tempo and is able to tap into the ether with ease!
Of course Rob Wrong once again delivers some of the best solos he’s ever played. Not only that but he doubled the rhythm to give this album the full collective collaboration. I’m humbled to work with him and call him a best friend. It’s been a ton of fun making two albums with him at Wrong Way Recording.
Again I got Ben House to make some incredible artwork! It’s beyond expectations and couldn’t have been happier with the results!
Devillusion was also mastered by TAD, not to mention inspired by him as well. I originally wanted to call the album Devil’s Balls, but after watching the TAD documentary and the scene where he showed his mom the album and she said something like, “Tad you’re smiling…Tad God’s Balls? But Tad you have such a great smile.” 🙂 Nevertheless, we have a song called Devil’s Balls and Werewolf that we’re most definitely influenced by some Tad. I’m forever grateful for his existence.“ – Corey Lewis, The Misery Men
Devil’s Balls 4:28
Iron Front 5:43
Cat With Nine Lives 4:34
The Reaper 2:52
To Bring You My Love 5:59
Recorded at Wrong Way Recording (c)2021
Produced by Corey G Lewis & Rob Wrong
Mixed by Rob Wrong
Mastered by Tad Doyle at Witch Ape Studios
All songs written by Corey G Lewis
To Bring You My Love written by PJ Harvey
The Reaper by Snowbud & The Flower People (Written by Chris Newman & Nathan Jorg)
Cat With 9 Lives by Napalm Beach (Written by Chris Newman)
Corey G Lewis: Vocal, Rhythm
Rob Wrong: Rhythm & Lead
Billy Anderson: Bass
Ian Caton: Drums
Special Guest Performances as The Slughs tribute to Chris Newman on: The Reaper & Cat With 9 Lives
Sam Henry: Drums
Kelly Halliburton: Bass
Rob Wrong: Lead & Rhythm
Jeffrey Larson: Rhythm
Corey G Lewis: Vocals
This album is dedicated to the Master of the Wu Chris Newman aka Snow Bud / Pugsley! We miss you!
Tags: Desert Records, Devillusion, Oregon, Portland, The Misery Men, The Misery Men Devillusion