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01. A Cold Day In Hell
02. Anthems Of Apocalypse
03. The Impaler
04. Decimate The Weak
05. Origins And Endings
06. Angels Of Debauchery
09. One Body Too Many
With the opening lyrics of "Anthems of Apocalypse," vocalist Johnny Plague snarls, "When this world ends I will stop in my tracks and ask myself 'what have I done with my life'"
After a few listens to "Decimate the Weak," it's clear that Johnny's too busy saving his strength for surviving the apocalypse to bother with such mundane concerns as injecting a bit of immediacy or passion into his vocal work, or perhaps trying to avoid sounding clichéd to the point of self-parody.
But hang on a second. I'm not saying "Decimate the Weak" is devoid of entertainment. Johnny Plague delivers a few chuckles when he momentarily channels Nuclear Rabbit's tough-guy parody song "Champion of the World," around the 3:20 mark on "Anthems of Apocalypse." Plus, the cheesiness with which the band incorporates "The Phantom of the Opera" around the one-minute mark of "The Impaler" is good for a laugh or two. (And again in the guitarwork of "Origins and Endings.") While it's conceivable that deathcore can be done passably well with a sense of humour, I get the feeling throughout "Decimate the Weak" that I'm laughing AT the band instead of WITH them. (In spite of the anime wet dream cover art.)
Musically, the album is pretty standard-fare symphonic black metal melded to death metal cookie monster growling before falling into the all-ubiquitous hardcore breakdown every time you look. The drumming is adequate, content to stick with the tried and true double-kick clickfest with some cymbal work for punctuation during the more atmospheric parts, and a few snare hits to keep time. The dual guitar attack of Nick Piunno and Nick Eash is well-played (when they aren't hammering away at a despairingly stale breakdown.) The production is slick in the right spots, letting the interplay between the two guitars take center stage, but the riffing really doesn't have any staying power. It's tolerable, but disappears from memory as soon as the track ends. Matt Fineman's keys do a decent job of providing some much-needed variety and texture to the album, but again, there's so much they can do to save the album.
Bottom Line: In spite of the scary cover art and supposedly menacing band photos, it's nearly impossible to take Winds of Plague seriously. Assuming listeners make it to the Lyrics-by-Fred-Durst opening of "Reloaded" followed by the same re-tread/bulldozed/strip-mined hardcore posturing we've heard a million times before, one can't help but wonder if the band even take themselves seriously.
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