Complete Control

Complete Control

Seven albums in, Baltimore grind veterans Misery Index remain as ferocious and opinionated as ever. On Complete Control, they take on everything from disinformation and media manipulation to the class system and identity politics. “The title refers to the structural systems that you find in societies, countries, and governments,” guitarist/vocalist and co-lyricist Mark Kloeppel tells Apple Music. “A lot of the songs talk about these ego-driven narratives that people tell themselves in order to feel in control of their own lives—even when those narratives have been completely made up by politicians and media outlets in order to manipulate us.” Below, he comments on each track. “Administer the Dagger” “Lyrically, this addresses the idea of competing media narratives, whether it’s Fox News or a particular person. People identify with the outlet or the person, and they start adopting all their opinions and start reifying everything that comes out of that channel. There’s a media conglomerate or a person with a bullhorn, and they get their followers to get out their own bullhorns to reify those things.” “The Eaters and the Eaten” “I feel like it’s common knowledge that there’s a top 1 percent that is actively keeping the other 99 percent in line. You’re without choice in their monetary system. You’re working for your living and for your freedom. ‘Work for pay, pay for freedom,’ as they say. ‘Hours spent in the shadow of the mill’ is the tagline in that song.” “Complete Control” “The title track is more of a personal venture—what it’s like for one person trying to navigate and negotiate living in this system. You’re trying to do what’s right and tell the truth, but it’s hard to know what the fuck the truth is in this assault of misinformation and disinformation and opinion being posed as fact.” “Necessary Suffering” “This is not a hopeful song, but it’s asking if there are other options or a way out or other ways to be. Or is the daily suffering we experience just part of how humans are hardwired to be? There are forces at play that always push things in a certain direction, but it always keeps winding around as the pendulum swings from one side to the other, never quite hitting that utopian center.” “Rites of Cruelty” “This is [bassist/vocalist] Jason [Netherton]’s song from start to finish, and it’s referring again to the top 1 percent we were talking about earlier. From time immemorial, a hierarchy has been in place that people either had to adhere to because of fear of death or because their livelihood depended on it. Sometimes, freedom fighters and certain groups try to break out of that, but this has been going on for a really long time. But there’s a message of hope here, looking forward to the day when the rites of cruelty end.” “Conspiracy of None” “This is one of my favorites on the record. It’s unabashedly hinting at many hardcore riffs from the early ’90s. I grew up listening to bands like Quicksand and Snapcase and Earth Crisis, and I just wanted a little bit of that in there. Lyrically, it’s kind of like the title track in that it’s about the individual navigating truth and misinformation. It’s being highly critical of people and media outlets that are trying to intentionally misinform you. This is about the lie-spreaders and conspiracy-starters.” “Infiltrators” “Sometimes you’ll have a movement that has good intentions for people, but folks come in and wear that movement like a new pair of shoes. In doing so, they act against that movement and cause more harm than good. An ally who claims to know the experience of the group is incorrect. They don’t know, and they don’t have the authority to speak on their behalf. But that person then becomes louder than the group because of the privileged status that has been bestowed upon them by the class system. And then they control the narrative.” “Reciprocal Repulsion” “This is another Jason song, and it’s talking about how those who want to control the herd for personal gain essentially hate the herd. And then you get a reciprocal feeling coming back at them, for obvious reasons.” “Now Defied!” “I know that identity politics is a touchy subject that many people don’t want to go near, but I feel that all human beings are essentially just blobs of water and flesh. We have differences in nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and all those things, but that stuff makes up a small percentage of who we are as a whole. Your actions and the wake you leave behind you make up who you are more than any of that other stuff, which has become more like branding. By picking 5 percent of your identity to represent yourself, you leave 95 percent of your character neglected.”


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