A Plea For Purging

Depravity

Written by: BL on 10/06/2009 03:08:43

It might not be obvious given the rather awful album cover, but A Plea For Purging is a band that doesn't seem to take itself too seriously and like to have a bit of fun. At least, that was the impression I got from watching their humorous music video for "Malevolence". "Depravity" is the second full length from this Murfreesboro, Tennessee-based technical metalcore outfit and as such I was expecting an accomplished sound, hoping not to be sitting through another mediocre breakdown-laden shredfest.

Upon the first listen, the familiar tone of producer Joey Sturgis (I wasn't aware it was him beforehand, but I knew once the music started) graced this writer's ears. Compared to what I vaguely remember of their debut though, it certainly seemed like a step up. Describing their music, I would say that you'd have to imagine part Protest The Hero (not quite as relentlessly fast), part Between The Buried And Me (not quite as flowing or mindblowingly odd) and part break-the-floor-times-ahead-down. Indeed this is a guitar-centric album, and riffs are abundant in variety and styles. You got your shred leads in "Malevolence", a pretty sweet tapped lead in "Prevaricator", plenty of mixed time signatures and dissonance, for example in "Motives", and the rather bizarre harmonised harmonics riff in "Traitor" which actually sounds pretty cool. Throw in plenty of your day-to-day dual guitar riffing, too, and tuneful guitar solos to boot (I really enjoyed the solo in "Holocausts").

As with the bands I named, A Plea For Purging haven't quite got the same level of songwriting as those aforementioned bands - sadly, given the clear shred-ability of the guitarists Blake and Tyler. While most of the songs have no repeating structures and showcase a fair bit of creative flair in managing to tie all the parts together (for the most part), at times it feels like technicality is there for the sake of it (not quite so much as with bands like The Human Abstract where it is sweep o'clock every second though). And like many metalcore bands, there is a reliance to tie some parts with meaningless breakdowns when all else fails. There are quite a few of these breakdowns, many kinds too, and some of these can sound decent when they aren't pointless and/or dissonant. For example in "Holocausts" there is one that appears beneath a solo and this combination of low and high makes for a great contrast. Or in "Misanthropy" just past the two-minute mark where the song suddenly decides to pummel you after leading you back and forth through riff valley.

Other aspects of the sound are generic at best. Vocalist Andrew Atkins has a rather hardcore growl that stays within the same range for the whole album and is unremarkable, occasionally harmonised to form the demonic vocal effect. This is a Joey Sturgis record so the bass guitar is virtually non-existant in the mix, and if it was it would be following the rhythm guitars and the double bass pedals anyway. Drumming from Aaron Eckermann seems to be devoid of any individuality at times, maybe too mechanical at parts. Not to say he does a bad job though; he's got some decent fills and is able to keep the rhythm section super tight and competent.

So my overall feelings are a mixed bag as you'd by now expect. While they're not indistinguishable from their peers, the good times are riddled with parts that have been tried and tested before. I certainly enjoyed listening to most of the album, even though at times it got on my nerves with unnecessary parts flung around. There were some great moments too: clever and varied riffs, the odd decent beatdown, and a melodic emphasis for the lead guitars. If you like solid metalcore with a technical spin and don't mind breakdown-barrages then give this a spin for sure, but otherwise I wouldn't think there is much for you to find here if you've been put off in any way by now.

7

Download: Holocausts, Prevaricator, Traitor
For the fans of: The Eyes Of A Traitor, This Or The Apocalypse, Ion Dissonance, Joey Sturgis
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.03.2009
Facedown Records

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