Reptilian Warlords

Heavy metal is in dire need of appropriate album covers to get tattooed directly above one’s butt crack. Well, Plaguemace is here to provide that reptile you’ve always wanted above your b-hole. They provide some gnarly ass death metal to put up there, too.

You’re going to get your typical new wave of old-school death metal beatdowns, such as in the opening 2 tracks, and track 4, “Rhythmic Demise” continues that trend. Andreas is all over that mic with the deep bellows sounding like he’s swallowing it whole. Oooh, Jesus Christ. Imagine Chris Barnes in his Cannibal Corpse and early SFU days. Of course, the riffs must be killer for any of it to matter. They are especially the one starting a little over 2 minutes in. Sometimes things work without necessarily reinventing.

“Among the Filth,” with its war metal beginning, mixes it up. This is also where the album turns into something else more than just your average OSDM album. Around 2 minutes in, there’s a filthy groove, which doesn’t last long before it turns into a melodic guitar break. Then, back to brutality. Another grimy, nasty, sexy groove hits with a little more than a minute left, taking the track home with some nice cymbal work by Matias.

The title track, “Reptilian Warlords,” at nearly five minutes, has a blistering riff to start, and a nifty bass break. It continues to stomp on the bloody stumps you’re no doubt calling arms by this point in the album, including a frantic blast section. This sounds like mid-era Six Feet Under, which some may find a turn-off, but I’m not one of them. The chunky riffs and Cookie Monster vocals are fantastic to me. You know when Barnes could still do it.

“Ambrosia” isn’t the closer, but at over 9 minutes, it probably should be. There’s a clean-picked intro, then they get all experimental and shit by turning into black metal. At least briefly. The vocals of course are still pure death metal. At around 4 minutes, everything is frantic, seeming like a death and black metal track all in one, almost as if everything is about to fly off and spray shrapnel. Then, we get back into a chunky death metal riff. It continues that way for the remaining few minutes until the ending brings in some flamenco guitar.

Then, of course, we have the true finale, “Carnivore.” It’s as if Plaguemace needed to re-establish they’re a death metal band, which they do admirably. The guitar tone shines, but this is where I must admit my ears are getting a little tired, as it feels like maybe the master is a little too smashed. I’m not saying this is a huge issue, as I only notice it on occasion, but it’s something of which to take note.

Napalm Records is certainly not the label that comes to mind when I think of old-school death metal, nor anything really, but I’m glad they picked up Plaguemace. This isn’t their typical cup of tea and honestly seems like it’s trend-hopping, as they tend to do. Despite those opinions potentially giving me preconceived notions about the album, Reptilian Warlords has been added to my collection. The band knows the style, adds their flair, and releases a pure winner.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
December 19th, 2023


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