Winds of Plague


Written by: MBC on 24/11/2013 20:59:44

Symphonic metal sextet Winds of Plague has been active on the American metal scene for over a decade. Originally named Bleak December, they changed the name and released their first album “A Cold Day In Hell” independently in 2005. Several of the tracks from this album would later be re-recorded and released on their major label debut “Decimate the Weak”, which came out on Century Media Records in 2008. Next year followed the album “The Great Stone War” and “Against the World” in 2011 that featured some impressive guest vocalists such as Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), Mattie Montgomery (For Today) and even former pro-wrestling icon The Ultimate Warrior. The fact that they chose him to appear on the album, speaks a lot of the type of universe they operate in. The music of Winds of Plague is an eclectic mix of hardcore, melodic death metal and grand symphonic parts and their lyrics are often filled with themes of heroes and demons, battlefields and honour. It is the metal equivalent of an Ultimate Warrior promo or a fantasy epic such as Lord of the Rings, which served as inspiration for the concept album “The Great Stone War”. This is warrior metal, but of a much more brutal approach than bands like Manowar and Hammerfall.

The band’s new album “Resistance” follows a formula similar to their previous albums. There are plenty of heavy breakdowns, hardcore and melodic death metal riffs and the presence of the symphonic elements provided by keyboardist Alana Potocnik, which seem to have been toned down a bit on this album. Winds of Plague has always had great sound courtesy of talented producers such as Matt Hyde (Slayer, Hatebreed) who produced their last album. On “Resistance” they have once again worked with a star-producer in Will Putney of The Machine Shop (For Today, Suicide Silence) and he has captured the band’s performance perfectly with a heavy and majestic sound.

Like their previous albums, “Resistance” starts off with an epic intro that sounds like something out of a Tim Burton movie with eerie strings and a haunting piano theme. At the 1:24 mark vocalist Johnny Plague enters with his demonic growl and the band goes straight into a heavy breakdown, a hardcore riff and a then breakdown again while Plague screams “open the gates of Hell”, before next song “Say Hello To The Undertaker” opens with a melodic death metal riff and pounding double bass. This opening of the album is typical Winds of Plague and indicative of the album as a whole; epic, atmospheric, heavy, aggressive and a little corny.

On “Sewer Mouth” the band is joined by the amazing Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain on guest vocals whose guttural growl fits well with the band’s style. It could have been interesting with a more high-pitched screamer as a contrast to Johnny Plague though, since both vocalists have very deep voices that sound similar. Although the vocals are great, the lyrics are not: “I don't care who you think you know, you don't even know yourself, you spent your whole life sucking dick, you should be used to this”. Oh dear, well Winds of Plague are not known for their incredibly sophisticated approach to lyrics, so I guess it does not come as a surprise.

The band’s major label debut “Decimate the Weak” still stands as their best album. It was a surprising and fresh take on modern metal that mixed the genres well. Not much has changed since then, although it seems that the band is somewhat abandoning the more technical deathcore/death metal approach to further pursue their love for Cali-hardcore. “Resistance” seems more balanced in that each song is not completely different from the last, which has been the case with some of the band’s releases in the past, but the way they used to surprise the listener by incorporating various styles is toned down significantly. Although the corniness of previous releases is toned down as well, “Resistance” just comes off a bit boring at times, and while it is still a good album made by talented musicians, it seems as if Winds of Plague has run out of juice somewhat.

Download: Say Hello To The Undertaker, United Through Hatred, No Man Is My Master
For The Fans Of: Bleeding Through, Terror, Dimmu Borgir
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 29.10.2013
Century Media

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