Since they formed in 2002 California’s own Winds of Plague have been on a tear. Putting together and releasing a demo entitled “A Cold Day in Hell” just three years into their existence and one year removed from graduating high school. The demo not only garnered them the attention of metal fans but also music label Century Media who signed them in 2007.
One year later they’d release their Century Media debut “Decimate the Weak” and now in 2011 have just released their third album for the label.
In a genre where it’s hard to establish an identity with the countless amount of bands seemingly sounding exactly the same, Winds of Plague breaks free of the shackles of the “deathcore” label.
Perhaps it’s due to the seamless usage of all three of their major influences (death metal, hardcore, and symphonic black metal) that they are able to establish themselves as one of the frontrunners of the genre. Whatever it is though the band finds themselves gaining more momentum with each release, and Against the World is perhaps their most complete record to date.
On their previous albums at times it seemed that songs fluctuated back and forth between genres from track to track; whereas the new album has a better mesh of all three styles within the track.
The most obvious cases are “One for the Butcher” and “Refined in the Fire” the latter in which is not only one of the best songs on the record but quite possibly my new favorite Winds of Plague songs period.
The way they are able to implement the symphonic keyboard parts, with death metal growls, and huge hardcore sing along choruses seems natural rather than forced. The result is an album of songs with huge crossover potential in the metal community.
Take tracks like “Built for War” and “Monsters” as further proof. Who would have thought they’d hear a song that starts off like a Dimmu Borgir track and ends with Jamey Jasta belting out a the end verse? On paper it seems absurd yet Winds of Plague not only make it work but make it work well.
“Monsters” does an equally compelling job of blending the same styles though subbing Hatedbreed’s Jasta for Stray the Path’s Drew York.
Speaking of cameos, the track “The Warrior Code” features perhaps the craziest of all. In an odd twist it so happens that the band shares the same management as former wrestler turned resident crazy guy The Ultimate Warrior and decided to see if they could get him involved in some capacity on the album. The result is a spoken word piece the prefaces the albums’ title track.
All isn’t perfect on Against the World though but my only real gripe is a minor one. While I actually like the song and listen to it every time I play the album, the song “California” seems out of place.
There is nothing wrong with paying tribute to your home but in the context of the album it simply doesn’t fit. Perhaps it would have been best served as a b-side or compilation track. I know it’s nitpicking, especially considering I like the song and am sure it’ll be a crowd favorite during their live shows.
Still doesn’t stop Against the World from being the best Winds of Plague record to date.