Winds Of Plague are one of the many bands in underground metal that have had a buzz around them for quite some time and now they’re starting to make waves in the UK.
Their fourth album Resistance is upon us, but is it a face-ripping tornado of metal or just a forgettable breeze?
It begins with an ominous pairing of synths and piano for about a minute and half before the rest of the Californian metal crew kick in with pretty much a sixty second breakdown until Say Hello To The Undertaker begins. There is some ear pleasing guitar work which recurs throughout the track, and the heaviness is backed up with the keyboard work of Alana Potocnik. As the album progresses, there are blastbeats and more than a few breakdowns. The occasional properly metallic riff is a breath of fresh air, which is a shame because it seems that with the synths and the obvious musical talent of the group, there could have been a lot of spine-tingling riff sections in the place of the generic chugging that Winds Of Plague chose.
Five tracks in and it’s making the head nod, but there is a nagging feeling that you’ve heard this synthy metalcore before. One look at who they’re currently touring with and that suspicion is confirmed in the form of the retiring Bleeding Through. Taking inspiration is one thing, but this probably could’ve been labelled as one of their albums and nobody would’ve have known the difference. In reality, there really isn’t that much musically that actually jumps out and worms its way into your ears. This Winds Of Plague album just sounds a bit samey, although production-wise, Resistance generally sounds pretty good. The guitars, bass and synth are all clear and punchy, there is no strain to pick things out, and the drums vary between a very natural and acoustic sound during some fills to an almost over-produced, trigger heavy sound in other parts, most noticeable during the faster sections in songs such as Left For Dead.
The vocals and lyrical content are what lets Resistance down most. It seems the general theme of the album is that the world is against vocalist Jonathon Cooke. For a band that are on their fourth full length album, that just doesn’t make sense. The words seem more like the rantings of a teenager that has had too much cheap cider in the park after a bad week at school than the thought processes of a fully grown adult: “You can’t stop my wrath / So you run for cover in the centre of the warpath” and “I won’t happy until everybody dies.” Is this supposed to be serious?
This isn’t a suggestion that metal bands should start singing about flower pressing or the beauty of certain cloud formations, but putting a little thought into lyrics might result in something a little less teen-angsty. The sound of the vocals is pretty terrible too. There is a near-constant distortion on Cooke’s voice (again, much like Brandan Schieppati on Bleeding Through‘s most popular album This Is Love, This Is Murderous) which makes it incredibly difficult to decipher and this lack of clarity just makes songs harder to differentiate.
If you disregard the cheesy lyrics, bad vocal production and that Bleeding Through should probably be receiving royalties for this album, Resistance isn’t too bad. It isn’t exactly terrible but it is nowhere near the best; there isn’t any riff that sticks in the mind and the only lyrics that get lodged in your brain are there for the wrong reasons.
Truthfully, these songs will probably work stupendously well in a live environment and appeal to angry teens but for anyone old enough to buy beer, it just falls flat of the hurricane of hype that surrounds Winds Of Plague.
For Fans Of: Bleeding Through, Killswitch Engage.