Metal, deathcore, hardcore, death metal, L.A. Wind Of Plague court them all making exact labelling of the band’s sound impossible. Such difficulty is a sign of a band that is always thinking and looking for new ideas or random, often both as in the case of Wind Of Plague and their new album Against The World. On the album there is an eagerness to stretch and expand their music with often surprising and intriguing ideas and directions which for the main work impressively well. There is as expected still the power, defiance and in the face aggression that previous releases have gained acclaim for in abundance.
Against The World brings simple and devastating attacks flavoured and enhanced with some inspired keys from newest member Alana Potocnik, her skills obvious throughout, and the album is a riveting amalgam of sounds underneath the Wind Of Plague canopy of power. About the album vocalist Johnny Plague has commented “We set out with producer Matt Hyde to raise the bar for Winds Of Plague both as a band and as musicians. We put a lot of our writing focus into the energy and the structure of the songs and everything else just seemed to fall into place naturally. We really just wanted to create a fun but heavy album. We still topped every song off with over the top epic orchestral arrangements, but we brought back the more hardcore, live show elements from ‘Decimate The Weak’. Unlike the previous release this record is not a concept album, which gave me freedom as a writer. Both fans of ‘Decimate The Weak’ and ‘The Great Stone War’ will be pleased for we haven’t altered the formula or strayed from our roots, but injected them with rage and fury. This record is beautiful, ignorant and heavy.”
The album starts off with one of the best beginnings on any album this year so far. ‘Raise The Dead’ is a cinematic and atmospheric track that is long enough to be more than a mere intro though it sets up the tone and leads wonderfully straight into ‘One For The Butcher’. The haunting keys and disturbing child chants from the opener reappear in this second track, making a death/black metal flavour at its best creating not only good sounds but emotional responses too.
‘Drop The Match’ and ‘Built for War’ step up next screaming at and bludgeoning the ear with a hardcore/ deathcore middle finger up assault. On the first the keys play elegantly behind the storming intense drum attack from Art Cruz and the pillaging throbbing bass of Andrew Glover. Vocally Plague delivers his growls and force with venom, as always you know what you will get with his vocals but they never from become stale at the same time. The second of the two songs rides in on some fine teasing symphonic keys whilst the metal urgency and direct strikes from the guitars of Nick Piunno and Nick Eash come striding through. There were moments on the track that brought bands like Mudvayne and Children of Bodom to mind all distilled in a neat blend of vintage Biohazard and Hatebreed. ‘Built for War’ does feature gust vocals from Jamey Jasta so a clue maybe as to one of the spices to it.
Jasta is one of a few guests on Against The World, which include Martin Stewart (Terror) and John Mishima (ex Blood Runs Black) on ‘California’, and also Mattie Montgomery (For Today) and Drew York (Stray From The Path) elsewhere. Also notable is the appearance of wrestling legend Ultimate Warrior on the brief ‘The Warrior Code’. Musically the Japanese sounding keys are great but overall with the vocal spoken narrative from the wrestling icon it is debateable if it works and really was just a moment of self pleasuring by the band. Good to see the ring rope shaker is still alive at least.
Tracks such as ‘Refined In The Fire’, ‘Most Hated’, and California’ all satisfy immensely and the blend of hardcore devastating ferocity and flowing melodic keyboard pleasure from Potocnik make the album intently pleasurable and very repeatable. No, Winds Of Plague will not set new trends for others and lyrically they do not exactly write words to be devoured eagerly by scholars in decades to come, but they are what they are. A strong and powerful band that eagerly fills your ears and hearts with greats sounds.