Monday, May 30, 2011

Winds Of Plague - Against The World

Winds Of Plague
Against The World
Century Media Records/E.M.I. Music Australia

Despite trying their hardest over the course of three former full-length releases, Californian based outfit Winds Of Plague haven’t convinced me that they’re any more than a run of the mill deathcore act. Now returning with their latest effort ‘Against The World’ (The follow-up to 2009’s ‘The Great Stone War’), it’s clear that Winds Of Plague aren’t going to radically change direction or sound any time soon.
A large part of the problem with Winds Of Plague is their over the top ‘tough-guy’ hardcore sound mixed with melodic death metal influences, and the clash of sounds the pair make when ill-fittingly combined together. While some bands have made it work (Bleeding Through are one of the few that comes to mind), Winds Of Plague sound less than serious for the most part, and down right unintentionally funny at other times.
The short introductory piece ‘Raise The Dead’ is solid, with its sinister keyboard sounds (Courtesy of new keyboardist Alana Potocnik, who was a former member of Abigail Williams and The Breathing Process), a children’s choir and some chugging guitar riffs and Jonathan ‘Johnny Plague’ Cooke’s matching monotone growled vocal efforts. But despite bleeding into ‘One For The Butcher’, the song doesn’t really seem to take off anywhere different from what was presented in ‘Raise The Dead’, bar a fairly simplistic chorus that features gang vocals, a little more guitar riff expansion in places and a slight variation in the keyboard fills.
Although aggressive, ‘Drop The Match’ is pretty much standard ‘tough-guy’ deathcore fair, with the band barely putting any stamp of originality into the song, while the title track ‘Against The World’ falls into a similar ‘heard it all before’ trap of song writing, even if the flourishes of keyboards presented give the song a bit more variation than its predecessor.
Not all of the album is a complete waste however, with ‘Built For War’ being given a much needed kick of urgency and venom with Hatebreed/Kingdom Of Sorrow vocalist Jamey Jasta putting in a brutal guest appearance, while the first single ‘Refined In The Fire’ (Featuring Mattie Montgomery of For Today on guest vocals), ‘Monsters’ (Which features Drew York of Stray From The Path), ‘Strength To Dominate’ and ‘Most Hated’ are at least solid and enjoyable slabs of deathcore, even if they are a little plagued by relentless breakdowns and an overall lack of technical finesse in the guitar riff domain.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t quite up to par. The cheesy spoken word piece ‘The Warrior Code’ by former WWF/E world champion The Ultimate Warrior is downright cringe-worthy, while the pseudo ‘tough-guy’ rap of ‘California’ (Which features Time For Change vocalist John Mishima and Terror guitarist Martin Stewart) sounds just downright out of place on the album.
Overall ‘Against The World’ sits alongside the bands past work in terms of sound and direction. But in terms of song writing consistency and originality, Winds Of Plague’s latest falls short of eclipsing their former releases by a long shot.

For more information on Winds Of Plague, check out - http://www.myspace.com/windsofplague

© Justin Donnelly