Poverty is No Disgrace must be one of the rarest thrash metal LPs out there, and Think of Misery one of the most obscure bands, but they weren't at all bad, except perhaps their logo designer? Yes, I actually like the hobohemia of the cover art, though it doesn't seem to do with the actual music. This is hostile, brutal thrash which reminds me at times of Possessed, Bulldozer, early Piledriver or Hobbs' Angel of Death, with a dark, abrasive atmosphere that is sure to thrill the cult black/thrash or death/thrash devotee. In fact, this is such an intensely fast and oppressive style that you must wonder why the band didn't develop more of a name for themselves...
They also had some riffs to them, especially the raw melodies that cut through "Surgeon", the opener and possibly the best track. The songs seem split between forgettable guitars and then these blazing spurts of inspiration which are catchier than they have any right to be. Often, the songs do feel a little cluttered, due to the thick tone of the bass, plodding along like a drunken, bloated zombie while the guitars distinguish themselves through the choppier mutes, but on the whole I really enjoy the production, and Arno's nearly growled, constipated vocal attack is the perfect helmsman. Some of the other choice tracks include the writhing "Deportation", the 9 minute epic namesake "Think of Misery", and the bridge burning "Deadly Hatred". "Conversion By Violence" has some great guitars, almost speed/power metal, but probably the weakest of Arno's vocals.
If you can envision a hybrid between the dark, dense and aggressive tones of the first two Running Wild albums and old Sodom/Kreator, then you're approaching Think of Misery's style. This isn't exactly a 'great' debut, but the atmosphere alone will appeal to those metalians who desire rugged 80s sincerity and uncaring, fuck off attitude. The drum tone on the album is a little crass, and there is a percentage of the writing that is far from compelling, but I'd certainly give it a listen if you're a fan of anything else I namedropped in this review. Had we gotten a second or third album from the Germans, I have few doubts that they would have carved a name for themselves, but alas, it was not in the cards.
Verdict: Win [7.25/10]