Album Review: Winds of Plague - 'Against the World'

22 April 2011 | 8:29 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

There's good, bad and everything in between

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Winds of Plague have enough miles under their belt (so to speak) to suggest 2011 be a productive and significant year for the Californian deathcore merchants. Three studio albums down, the current musical trend would suggest the time is right to assert some sort of authority. It's a bit of a sink or swim situation if you like. See it is not by chance that the band has survived this long but it's equally not by obvious excellence either. It's been a quiet, almost mundane sense of longevity if anything.

Album four entitled, 'Against the World' is billed as the band's heaviest record yet. Excusing the fact that this is almost a prerequisite and cliche response from all metal outfits before unveiling a new dose of brutality, there is still a sense of interest present.

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At its worst, this album sounds like Emmure with keyboards…and trust me that's not a good thing. While at better moments it contains a likening to a Bleeding Through metalcore sound, with a not so subtle black metal influence.

'Monsters' is an aptly titled track. The song is beastly, beginning with a strong keyboard intro before turning into a four minute, menacing dose of blackened deathcore. This is a perfect example of Winds of Plague pulling off an effective sound. While 'California' just adds fuel to the fire and gives some sort of venom to haters, with the song just serving to complicate matters. 'Refined in the Fire' is a bit more of a literal hardcore construction. With, 'Drop the Match' almost nu-metal in the initial stages than anything else. The cameo appearance of retired wrestler the Ultimate Warrior in spoke track 'The Warrior Code' is intriguing but overall doesn't add anything too grand.

Essentially, 'Against the World' again shows the band are capable of penning a solid and consistent song but at the same time are also willing to take the lazy route and settle for something a little too generic. Every high is matched by a low. However, adopting a glass half-full approach, I guess every moment of disappointment is rectified by another period of brilliance.

'Against the World' is a tough one. It's almost schizophrenic in delivery. Winds of Plague are not entirely derivative but they are not genre trailblazers either. It's certainly better than what some of their deathcore peers have turned out so far this year but it still doesn't come close to heavy royalty like Born of Osiris or All Shall Perish.

'Against the World' is littered with some impressive musical moments that are deserving of praise. The band just need to learn to iron out the indifferent bits instead of just purely settling. 'Against the World' is a fierce, confident listen but is probably better served when isolating select tracks instead of listening to the album as a whole.

1. Raise the Dead

2. One for the Butcher

3. Drop the Match

4. Built for War

5. Refined in the Fire

6. The Warrior Code

7. Against the World

8. Monsters

9. Most Hated

10. Only Song We're Allowed To Play In Church Venues

11. California

12. Strength to Dominate