Best known as one half of English hip-hop duo Axed Up, melancholy-minded rapper/singer/songwriter/producer Comply had adopted a new moniker on his latest offering Mystic Angel.
As Misery, Comply is able to focus his generally frantic style into something more emotionally grounded. ‘Death Note’ is an immediate standout thanks to its earworm hook (‘I ain’t even wrote you in my Death Note, baby wanna love me I said hell no’) that tonally stands at odds with the cloudy sadness conveyed by the instrumental. Produced by Axed Up as a duo and featuring the dulcet tones of fellow XXIX Club member SxberBlu, it’s the first song on the project that suggests that the Misery name will stand the test of time as its own unique sound. It’s gratifying in general too that while this is Misery’s debut as a solo artist he’s still very much committed to delivering high-quality collaborations with the members of XXIX. Sunburn has the tape’s most vocally stunning performance on ‘Don’t You Know?’, his piercing wail a brilliant accompaniment to the seething animosity of Misery’s half-sung groans. ‘Under Weather’ is another effective collaboration, Misery and wtrflls teaming up for a distinctly grim and gothic British ballad.
The improvements in Misery’s singing voice can really be heard here, ‘Backspace It’ for example soars very early on thanks to his majestic chorus work. As the aggressive trap stuff is all but gone here, the production is instead very simple and minimalistic and this is displayed no better than on the title track, which is also the six track EP’s grand finale. Most of these beats feature simple guitar samples or melodies sometimes shrouded in thicker, sludgier drum work, giving Misery and his collaborators all the space in the world to project their emotionally charged lyrics. The only track where things get a little crazier is the opener ‘Lonely’, a song so jam-packed with instrumental variety that it’s a little disorientating. Every track here fits nicely into the overall sound, however, and as a first foray into bleaker, more poetic territory I don’t think Mystic Angel could have been any more effective.
Listen to the project in full here.
Follow Comply on Twitter here.
– Chris (@108mics)