Guess what folks. Plagues is back. Yes, Plagues, and by that I don’t mean the sort of thing that will make all your loved ones die and leave you burning piles of bodies, I mean the artist known as Plagues who is the sole driving force behind the band we are here to hear about.
A short heads up for you not in the know. This is their (well, her) third release since around 2016. The first one was titled ‘Blood & Chaos’ and the second one was called ‘The Salvation Death Brings’, and that’s where I come in. I did a review of the UK based artists second release (on this very site too if you care to take a peek), and found it to be overall very promising, and a highly commendable effort. I may have also said that she is not re-inventing the wheel, but the release did show a fairly high level of promise.
Admittedly it had a few production value issues, and I am not going to lie about that, and so with that in mind, Plagues went out and got a heap of new shit to record this effort, so let us see if that has made any difference shall we? Long story short, it most certainly has, and just in case I hadn’t mentioned it, Plagis exist around the realm of Blackened Death/Extreme Metal for mine, but it is most certainly Extremely Blackened. Well, they did..
Plagues has not only decided to upgrade the equipment side of things, she has also decided to slow things down a little here and there. Yes some of these fat riffs would not be out of place on a Doom album. That is not to say she has become less intense so to speak, more pointing to the fact that if anything, she has become even more particular in her delivery. Take track 3 ‘Manus’ for example if you so wish, the chugging guitar over the pounding drums has an almost suffocating effect, and the vocals are certainly distinctly threatening if nothing else.
Suffocating is probably a good way to describe a lot of this, although not in the way you think. The time signatures can seem to be a little off kilter at the first listen, but over the course of each song they begin to clarify, and it all makes much more sense. The songs suffocate you with harsh brutality and challenge the listeners ear, and each listen points out another interesting facet of what seems to be a very disturbed mind. This is why we listen to Metal is it not? To be challenged, and have to think somewhat outside the square as they say?
Apparently this album was inspired by the Dark Souls series of games, and having played them I can see the correlation. Harshness abounds, in parts bleak and despairing, in others a glorious rise to victory and some respite, and then you are back in the terrifying reality that death is a certainty but you must continue to challenge yourself against the odds no matter what and it will make you, or break you.
I have a lot of admiration for Plagues and her project. It continues to grow, and it is becoming not only more coherent, but is also showing her growth as an individual. Highlights? Well you be the judge. I think you need to listen to the whole thing myself, and experience the changes that have occurred, and I also recommend that you listen to her earlier works to fully grasp what I am saying. It will put this album into so much more perspective for you, the listener.
Kudos to you Plagues, yet again your dedication to the cause that we call Metal shall never be questioned by man or beast, and if you continue down this path that you have been walking down I expect nothing but excellence in years to come.
Have a listen folks, there is a lot to like right here.