Release Date: April 19th, 2011
Label: Century Media
Website: None available
Winds Of Plague are a band known for their uncompromising, startlingly heavy yet diverse sound. They fit into the deathcore genre, but at times they border on different sounds (hardcore, death metal are two examples), so it’s always interesting to listen to one of their albums as so much goes on behind the dark, heavy façade. Assumedly ‘Against The World’ is going to be no different.
‘Raise The Dead’, the intro is an eerie, ominous start. Children chanting and a gloomy organ, with a choir harmonising until the vocalist blasts into the song with his dark, visceral style. Synth petering away over the nightmare-ish sound adds that extra bit of gothic feel, and dynamism to a fitting start to an album by a band whose whole sound is epitomised by this opener. It is creepy, sinister and unsettling, and I can imagine that the band will be happy that this effect has come across.
This merges into the second song, ‘One For The Butcher’, which again contains children chanting and the vocalist ranges from high to low screams with ease. The synth in particular stands out, as it adds something different to the feel of the song, bludgeoning breakdowns and blast-beats are softened by the synth, and the band can be comparable to Cradle Of Filth in the sense that synth is one of the most important parts of their machine.
The single ‘Refined In The Fire’ is a grooving, heavy, symphonic, ugly song. Not ugly as in bad, ugly as in head-nodding, teeth-gritting, nasty song. A song that is true to the style of Winds Of Plague and what the deathcore genre should be about. Vocalist Johnathan Cooke uses his guttural style to full effect here, taking the listener into the dark depths of the song, and making sure that it is an uncomfortable yet pleasing listen throughout. Gang vocals come into play too, and it is imaginable that in a live setting, this section of the song is the part where the band urge the crowd to shout the gang vocals. A wise choice as a single.
‘California’ is probably the best song on the album. The vocals are really strong, the music is different to the rest of the tracks, and it verges on hardcore punk rather than deathcore, which makes for an intriguing listen. The guitar riff is straight out of the bustling 90s hardcore scene, and it’s interesting to listen to as the band show they can play in other genres, not just deathcore. It also shows very different influences to their sound. There are guttural, heavy vocals on this track though, and it proves that Cooke can hold his own against the exceptional guest vocals on this track, and this is what makes this track such a stand-out one.
Overall, it’s an album that can only be listened to once without having a break from it. This isn’t because the music is rubbish, it’s simply because the heavy onslaught the band bring to the listener can tend to get so in-your-face that there’s nothing for it but to listen to something soothing after to mend your ears, and your mind. Deathcore fans will lap this up.
Written by Rhys Milsom