2019 was a banner year for metal quintet Une Misère. Record label Nuclear Blast signed them in January, the same month they released their first single ‘Damages.’ In November, they dropped their debut album ‘Sermon,’ which found its way onto essentially every metalhead’s albums of the year list. Now, it has earned them the Grapevine Album of the Year, and for good reason—each track is a well-polished anthem to misery.
But why ‘Sermon’? “A sermon is a form of celebration,” vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson explains. When Jón conceived the title, he envisioned one of those megachurches where the minister flies in on a private jet, preaching to a massive crowd about how life is great. “I thought, ‘yeah, that’s proper bullshit,’” he says, laughing. So instead, the band took the idea and inverted it. “[‘Sermon’] is a celebration of misery,” he concludes.
The group may joke about the origins of the album title, but for Jón, every moment of ‘Sermon’ is an intimate one. “The album is written about my times of addiction where I didn’t feel. And I wished I could feel,” he says. “Then I got clean, and I started feeling, and it was awful, but I was still feeling.”
Don’t forget pain
While the album centres around Jón’s journey to sobriety, each member has their own emotional attachment to certain songs. “For the impact factor, the beauty, the anger, for everything packed into one song, for me, it has to be ‘Fallen Eyes,’” says guitarist Fannar. “That one song is every single song on the album.”
Une Misère’s drummer, Benni, mentions ‘Burdened/Suffering’. “When we were recording, I finished it last. It was pretty great to finish it, and to feel like the sermon is done.” To him, the song encapsulates everything they’re trying to do as a band, and pays homage to their biggest influences. “I feel like we captured something that we really wanted to in that song,” he says.
Jón’s favourite tracks are either ‘Sin & Guilt’ or ‘Voiceless’. The lyrics for ‘Voiceless’ are about veganism, about which he is very passionate, but ‘Sin & Guilt,’ he explains, is more personal. “Don’t let me forget my pain,” he says, referencing a lyric of the song. “No matter if someone hurts you or you hurt someone, it’s your pain. I don’t wanna forget that.”
If 2019 was the year Une Misère claimed their metal throne, 2020 will be the first year of their reign. “We’re gonna be really fucking busy in 2020,” Jón says. “A lot of stuff we can’t talk about yet, but the things we can talk about we are really excited about.”
“But we are still recording and rehearsing new music,” Benni interjects. “So it’s just a matter of time until we enter the studio again and do something new.”
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