Northern Plague
Manifesto

Throughout the years Poland has been a steady war factory, churning out quality metal bands of various genres. Though the country known mostly for delicious pierogi is hardly – if ever – mentioned in the same breath as its neighbor Germany when speaking of the sheer amount of terrific metal bands, Poland certainly has a strong history of talent.

From the obvious leaders Vader and Behemoth, the Land of the Fields has given the metal world such acts as Ass to Mouth, Decapitated, Morbid Execution, Squash Bowels, and Dead Infection to name just a few. Add to the list Northern Plague, a group of new dudes who have just released their debut full-length Manifesto.

Sporting a raucous blend of death and black metal, Northern Plague is here to rip the listener to shreds with their savage riffing and no-frills approach to a genre of metal that at times has been pushed to its limits. With Northern Plague, though, their assault never grows stale. While each of the eight tracks on Manifesto tends to follow the same blueprint of blast/roll/double bass behind scorching riffs and catchy hooks, they never fall into the pattern copy-paste-repeat.

Similar in approach to the likes of Aura Noir (though not as punk-infused), Unlight and at times Tsjuder, Northern Plague waste little time in getting down to business, which is sheer destruction. Whether it’s in the form of a slow, crippling, crusher of a song like the title track or a rampaging storm of brutality like “Reign Mother War”, Northern Plague pull no punches. Guitarist Janus never tries to get too fancy on any of the passages; his riffs are deliberate and powerful, most notably during the various ebbs and flows of “Divide Et Impera” and arguably the album’s highlight “Let the World Burn”.

Backing up Janus is the chaotic drumming of Damyen, a monster behind the kit who is all over the place, though he is always in total control of his madness. Though the overall sound of his drums are a tad thin at times for these ears, the mayhem is captured nicely in the final mix. Also, Damyen thankfully never relies solely on blasts or double bass; his battery of the skins is with a varied approach, which always keeps the music fresh and interesting.

Sporting a largely remarkable overall production, Manifesto explodes out of the speakers with sonic vitriol. Thankfully the team at Hertz Studio (Behemoth, Decapitated, Hate) didn’t strip down the nastiness too much at the control panel; Manifesto is a nasty little beast of ferocity. However, as gritty as the album is, it’s not an inaudible mess like the “trve” black metal albums are “supposed” to sound. No, Manifesto is clean and polished, but it’s not overdone to where it sounds like something that came with the Pro Tools startup kit.

Northern Plague is relatively new to the scene (they released an EP Blizzard of the North in 2011), but they already have a powerful sound in one corner and talent to create actual songs in the other. Combined, the blood red sky is the limit for these Poles. If Manifesto, their debut album, already sounds this good, there’s no reason these cats can’t eventually be tossed into the conversation with the most established acts – Vader and Behemoth – as the best band between the borders of Germany and Ukraine.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
April 7th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: j.d.

    Thanks for the review, it led me to check it out on Spotify- this is excellent!


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