This is on the press release for The Miser’s second record.

“Formed in 2014, The Miser have been spreading misery through their music for almost a decade. Their name came from 14th Century painter Hieronymus Bosch and his painting ‘Death and the Miser’, which is a reminder that death does in fact come for us all. The band discuss the dark & surreal concepts of Bosch as a key influence, which fits in with their dark and gloomy music but also their entertaining personalities.”

I know what you’re thinking. “cor…that’s about as much fun as root canal surgery”. But here’s the thing about The Miser. Second guess them and you’ll look stupid. To wit: “I miss the sticky floors and I miss the eight people shouting for more….”

That line is from the brilliant “Yeah, We’re Back”, the fourth of these five. And for my money it sums them up. Equal parts Orange Goblin and Black Sabbath, it imagines a world where biker gangs talk about the occult and celebrates rock n roll.

The Miser, quite frankly are a band for any metal occasion. Heavy, groovy, UK metal. There’s no point in pigeonholing them because they’ll fly somewhere else. Often in the same song. There’s a driving energy to “House On The Hill” one minute, then there’s some nasty stuff lurking in the mist out the back. I always imagine The Miser as emerging from the mists. It just fits.

They also don’t sound exactly like anyone else, either. Yes Sean Crocker can belt out a tune a bit like Ozzy, but Scott Haslett’s riff at the opening of “A New Dream” recalls The Almighty circa “Wrench”. That’s before you listen to the words. Nightmarish, bleak and full of despair. Yet when the hook hits, its joyous.

They are an incongruous bunch. The scamps.

The bass of Matt Hull provides the bedrock of “Scars” and I am reminded of a time about 20 years ago when I got heavily into Cathedral and every band I listened to for six months after sounded like they were performing some ritual at sunrise at Stonehenge. It doesn’t even matter what Crocker is roaring about here, it just sounds mighty. Thunderous. A huge slab of metal. Yet airy enough not to be oppressive. It’s a very neat trick – very few can pull it off. These boys (with drummer Dan Danby completing the ranks) do it with aplomb.  

And as a reminder that we’re all gonna die, the title track will do just fine. “Live your life in constant dread” goes one of its lines and let’s be honest, that’s 2023 nailed. The fact that it ends with something of a jam offers some light at the end of the tunnel, though as if its saying: ok but we’ve still got music.

What music this is too. When I wrote about their last EP I said: “if you have ever liked rock music from 1970 onwards, then there’ll be something you like here.” And that is still absolutely true of this one. However, allow me to add this: The Miser might just be the best metal band you haven’t heard of. Let’s change that, shall we? They need more than eight people shouting for more, because they are genuinely brilliant.

Rating 9/10

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