A Plea For Purging
The Marriage of Heaven & Hell

It’s more than common knowledge that the third album is one of the pinnacle pressure points of a band’s existence. Getting the balance right is so important in avoiding to take that wrong turn to the inferno of decline and instead ascending to the heavens of greatness. The immortal list of the eponymous third album is long and plentiful, and whilst A Plea for Purging most likely won’t be included on it for a plethora of reasons The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, is a finely surprising album, as well as one that shows maturity without watering down their core essence.

Encompassing the darkened literary nature of William Blake’s literary masterpiece has worked in favor for A Plea for Purging, like that text, this album is complex, layered and constantly shifting, but most importantly, is possessed by a somber atmosphere, giving the compositions a melancholic air, even at their most relentless. The opening bellow of “I AM THE REAPER,” in the “The Eternal Female,” is firmly indicative of the intent and direction of the album, that it will not be a gently persuasive sermon but rather a barrage of bloodthirsty psalms. Musically, there is confident growth, and significant progression from second album Depravity and they continue to distance themselves from the melodic, galloping Misery Signals/Shai Hulud style metalcore of their debut full length.

The album’s underbelly is forged with a deluge of fluid, Meshuggah style riffs. They bend and squirm busily, serving as a stable foundation to the technical shifts in pace, as well as color the tone of the riffs, be it a juddering, almost thrashy zip as found in “The Eternal Female,” or the earth quaking bass drop that brings forth the closing breakdown and chugs of the piece. Better still is “Shiver,” a sub three minute depth charge that is again built around these slithering riffs, which snake and contort, leading to the album’s mosh madness starting one minute in, before getting really nasty thirty seconds later.

Post mosh climax, ethereal electronics flirt sneakily in the background, adding potency to the riffs, and typify the aforementioned melancholy that courses through the album, before fading out and giving way to one final almighty chug. Other pieces such as “And Weep,” finely balance the mosh and the meandering, mixing up soulful vocal refrains and vicious staccato riffs with consummate ease, it’s again testament to the growth of the band, and how they are continuously mastering the potential of their skills and instruments.

Forever the bane of contemporary metalcore, the utilization of clean vocals is wholly restrained on “The Marriage of Heaven & Hell,” peppering a handful of tracks rather than asphyxiating them. That is until penultimate track “The Jealous Wings,” which is as indie/emo/mellow as the title suggests and is lead entirely by them. It could have been an abomination, and thus ruined the flow of the album, but is in fact a rather skilled piece that is moody without being sulky, floating without being too fluffy and not just simply a conduit between track eight and ten. Rather, it fits into the context and feel of the album holistically, and its absence would detract from the album’s overall flow.

It’s been a long time since an album from the Christian sector of hardcore/metalcore has profoundly surprised me as much as this one. A lot of work and thought has gone into the construction of The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, and it shows, as it sees A Plea for Purging are beginning to craft their own identity, whilst respecting the roots of where they came from. Additionally, they haven’t succumb to the facile temptation of making records that tend to move sideways rather than forward when it comes to progression and if they continue along this path, heaven is theirs for the taking.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
September 6th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: AARONIUS

    This is a really really good album. I still feel like “The Jealous Wings” belongs on another album (perhaps something by Porcupine Tree) but I still love that song like crazy.

    The Eternal Female and Shiver straight up destroy.

    solid


  2. Commented by: xbenx

    Thanks for the comments Aaronius, much appreciated, gotta say this is growing on me more and more, really didn’t see it coming. As for the “Jealous Wings,” piece, no doubt that there was a progressive influence when they were putting that one together.


  3. Commented by: Mark

    Goddamn this band


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