Misery Signals are arguably one of the frontrunners of Metalcore, with their debut full-length Of Malice and the Magnum Heart being heralded as one of the heavyweights of the entire genre.
2014 marked the 10-year anniversary of said album, and in celebration the band reunited with their original line-up and played a string of shows dedicated to the album in its entirety. Dubbed the Malice X tour, long-time friend of the band Matthew Mixom filmed behind the scenes video as well as various interviews to those surrounding the tour.
For the uneducated, then vocalist Jesse Zaraska played in Compromise who toured with the likes of 7 Angels 7 Plagues, which housed some of Misery Signals own members. A fatal bus-crash while on tour killed two of the members of Compromise, leaving the others severely injured. Following on from tour both bands were left disintegrated, and Zaraska then saw it fitting to elect himself as the new vocalist of 7 Angels 7 Plagues, which would then be rebirthed as Misery Signals.
Complications arose during the initial tour cycle for Of Malice that led to Zaraska and the other members parting ways before Misery Signals would return with a new vocalist on their next full-length Mirrors in 2006.
Yesterday Was Everything catalogues the band’s early days - even stretching as far back before Misery Signals started, as 7 Angels 7 Plagues toured with Compromise, yet it’s nice for the band to shed some light on what was until this point, cloaked in mystery. Long-time fans and newcomers alike will share a sense of epiphany of the band’s rise to greatness in the face of adversity.
Moreover, Mixom’s documentary is meticulously well detailed and edited, with a sparse and diverse archive of concert footage, as well as contemporary interviews with all of those involved in the scene (and then some) giving their two cents. There’s even snippets of members parents recalling the days in which they let the band rehearse under their roof, who are as equally distraught over the past tragedy. There’s a fascinating parallel between certain relationships and circumstances in the past and how they now echo into present day.
The occasional talking head can sometimes be emotionally taxing on the viewer, with numerous interviewees choking through their personal recollections of the fatal incident as they visibly fight back tears. It can be hard to watch at times, but it just makes for more emotionally honest viewing.
A staple of a well-made documentary should be whether or not an audience can empathise with its subjects, and suffice to say Mixom’s effort is meticulously crafted, demonstrating a heart-wrenching sense of community in the heavy music scene, especially one in the midst of a tragedy.
Yesterday Was Everything proves to be a long-lasting tribute to the likes of Compromise and 7 Angels 7 Plagues as well as a monument to the bleeding-heart musicians and fans that have shown loyalty since Misery Signals conception. Very moving indeed.
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