Winds of Plague
Decimate The Weak

Though keyboards and synths have recently been used more frequently in death core, it was the 2005 debut, A Cold Day In Hell, from this California band that seemed to use them in a more symphonic black metal way that really got my attention and the attention of Century Media.

So now armed with a shiny production and mastering job from Daniel Castleman (As I Lay Dying, A Love Ends Suicide) and Tue Madson (Himsa, The Haunted, etc) Winds of Plague have re-recorded four of the debut’s better tracks (Intro “A Cold Day In Hell”, “Anthems of Apocalypse”, “Legions”, “One Body Too Many”), and added 6 solid new tracks for their Century Media debut and the result is an album that comes across as Bleeding Through without the suck meets Dimmu Borgir and All Shall Perish.

Obviously, if you hate the whole Deathcore thing, Winds of Plague, no matter what garnish they add, won’t appeal to you as underneath the lavish synths there is still the rudimentary mix of crumbling down tuned breakdowns mixed with At The Gates styled hack n slash melodeath riffage all layered with the requisite gang chants and dual vocal approach. However, with some above average strong writing and the ever present synths, the album comes across as far more serious and ‘metal’ than many of their overdone peers.

After the intro, Winds of Plague smartly open with one of their better redone tracks, “Anthems of Apocalypse”, a melodic yet dramatic number with a wide range of solos and time changes that show Winds of Plague certainly have a pretty good grasp on song writing and how to incorporate their synths seamlessly into deathcore. New Track, “The Impaler” follows suit with a deliberate slower pace allowing the following title track deliver the more urgent blast and breakdown filled savagery that you’d expect from the genre but still managing to inject some melodic leads. However, I could have done without the hardcore gang chants. Another new track “Origins and Endings” has a Middle Eastern vibe but it hardly stands out as a quality new track like say, “Angels of Debauchery” which has similar mood and tone as the opener. Then “Reloaded” almost derails the entire album with a straight up Madball/Agnostic Front chunky NYHC styled romp except for its pretty crushing climax.

“Unbreakable” and the re-recorded duo of “One Body Too Many” and closer “Legions” get things back on track with more synth laced but burly dramatics that show Winds of Plague just might be onto something with their sound, a sound that while seeming to mix two rather saturated styles into one, actually comes off as rather refreshing in a sea of wanna be kids simply content to reeee and stomp their way through one album then break up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
February 6th, 2008

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