01. Raise the Dead 02. One For the Butcher 03. Drop the Match 04. Built for War 05. Refined in the Fire 06. The Warrior Code 07. Against the World 08. Monsters 09. Most Hated 10. Only Song We're Allowed to Play... 11. California 12. Strength To Dominate 13. Zombie2011 Century Media Records
On Against the World, Winds of Plague delivers some of the best deathcore the genre has to offer [insert cough here]. That's not to say there isn't an overabundance of macho beatdown phrases. There are. But the band intersperses the stock filler with symphonic subtleties, melodic guitar passages, and ridiculous rolling kicks making the slowed sections less predictable and more satisfying. The opening of "Raise the Dead" and "One for The Butcher" set a high watermark for the disc's intensity. Their signature synthesizers add a choir-like feel but do get in the way of the album's bare bones belligerence. "Built for War" begins with a battle-horn intro before diverging into a gruesome militant anthem. The blitzkrieg of a bridge culminates in a Jamey Jasta cameo; it finishes sounding exactly like Hatebreed. The possessed piece "Monsters" begins by trudging along then suddenly splits personalities in a blurring level of speed. The song disarms and surprises by slithering into southern sludge territory. On the other side of the coin, "Drop the Match" misses the mark with its nu-metal feel and "jump around" rhythm. "Refined in the Fire" is interchangeable with more than a handful of other bands in the genre. "Strength to Dominate" and "Most Hated" return to the well of sophmoronic barrel chest beating, though the latter does have some skippy guitar work towards the middle and ends with a share of inspirational piano lines. The steps backward are unfortunate considering how forward thinking much of Against the World is. Winds of Plague straddle the line between creative and corny. "California" is part West Side pranksters pole dancing theme and is almost equally an East Coast throwback thrasher. It's really dumb, but it's fun. The cover of The Cranberries' 1994 hit "Zombie" is an interesting choice for a final track. Ultimately it doesn't work, but thanks for trying. Bottom Line: Winds of Plague's ability to push the boundaries of their genre makes Against the World a worthy listen. There are more highlights than eye rolls, though some of the incessant breakdowns and boasting becomes a bit much.
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