Horde Casket
Plague Supremacy EP

Even though 1976′ s The Bad News Bears taught me not to assume things, I’m gonna…I am straight up assuming that everyone here is a fan of brutal death metal, at least in some smattering or inkling, be it small or large. I’m assuming that we can all get down to  Suffocation, Deeds of Flesh, Gorgasm, Dying Fetus and the likes. Yes?..No?.. if it’s a no for you then in my best Eric Adams/Manowar impersonation, “LEAVE THE HALL!”. Seriously though, if none of the aforementioned bands tickle your nethers then Oklahoma City’s Horde Casket and their new EP release, Plague Supremacy is not the album for you. Yet if you find yourself in the stellar “yes” category and those acts as well as influences from Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse, and maybe even Insidious Decrepancy sound like a blissful merger of brutal excellence, then Horde Casket is indeed a group you will want to take notice of.

With five previous full-length albums under their belt, Plague Supremacy may not be the best starting off point for the uninitiated. Not that it’s a bad one, but with a full-length you get a bit more meat on the bone to make your own assessments. Though any of their albums give you a pretty good insight to the band, I would say check out Xenopocalypse and move forward from there. Anyways, getting back to Plague Supremacy, the ‘Casketeers give us seven tracks in eighteen and a half minutes, though there are three piano-based instrumentals peppered throughout the EP so technically, we’re only getting four proper death metal blasters; but man, those four tracks simply whip some serious ass.

Having just read the above paragraphs you probably have a good idea of what Horde Casket sounds like, so instead of dissecting each track here I’m going to focus on my favorites of the EP, and that would be “Raining Chunks” and “ Lake of Withered Remains”. The former is an aptly named busy and intricate bludgeoner, the drum work alone ripping it up in balls to the wall fury. Though highly proficient in speed and technical prowess, the song really comes alive at the 1:53 mark where fat riffs of chunky, slamming groovabilty rain down upon the listener, providing both utter devastation and a bit of breath from the uber mach-10 percussion beatdown that endcaps the song in the beginning and end.

 

Much of the same could be said to describe “Lake of Withered Remains”. The track is a chunky riff heavy monolith of grooving brutality with just the right amount of slamming chords versus technical fretwork. A definite headbanger, this shit will have you doing death metal lunges and crabwalking through your living room like it’s nobody’s business. Not to mention the sweet little solo that pops up in the last throes of the song. While nothing too wild and or extreme, it fits the track perfectly and gives just the right amount of needed melodic flair to top things off.

All in all, Plague Supremacy is quite a bombastic EP of brutal death metal savagery. The  songs are all written, performed, and produced well with the material being clean and clear, but not too clean and clear to damage the dirtiness that we love in our death metal.  “Tyranny of Blood” is a fine example of the great production with its tasty lead work giving way to riffs o’ death and integral bass that you can feel as well as hear, helping to anchor the song and provide a presence that you would definitely miss if it wasn’t there. I really don’t have any real bones with Plague Supremacy, about the only real critique I have of it would be that the drum performance, as stellar as it is, does tend to come off a bit too clinical and even robotic. Seriously, I thought this was a drum machine until further inspection proved otherwise, mainly because of the ungodly speed and accuracy of the performance. While it’s a testament to the trade to be able to perform at such levels of intensity, I think a bit more breadth in the drum work, as well as a less triggered sound, would be more beneficial.

Also, while not necessarily a critique in itself, I think the inclusion of the instrumental/piano/synth tracks could be something very interesting if they were apart of  the metal instead of just between tracks. They’re good and the talent behind them is clearly there, to integrate them into the death metal itself could be a very awesome outcome. Much like the little known Psypheria did on their full-length Embrace the Mutation, where they heavily incorporated classical piano into their Immolation-esqe brand of death metal to achieve some amazing results if you ask me. I could see this being something of a new door to open within the Horde Casket camp were they interested in venturing down that path. As it stands, Plague Supremacy  is a fine, quick in and out blast of brutality with a touch more to offer than your average brutal death/gore basher. Coupled with a sick and twisted Jon Zig meets Vincent Locke styled cover, Plague Supremacy shows that Horde Casket means business.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
March 25th, 2022

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