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Winds Of Plague - "Against the World" (CD)

Winds Of Plague - "Against the World" CD cover image

"Against the World" track listing:

1. Raise the Dead (1:31)
2. One for the Butcher (4:29)
3. Drop the Match (3:34)
4. Built for War (3:41)
5. Refined in the Fire (3:07)
6. The Warrior Code (1:30)
7. Against the World (4:02)
8. Monsters (3:46)
9. Most Hated (3:40)
10. Only Song We're Allowed to Play in Church Venues (1:52)
11. California (3:29)
12. Strength to Dominate (3:55)

Reviewed by on June 19, 2011

"Winds of Plague has finally succeeded in doing what few bands before them have been capable of pulling off: eliminating every single redeeming quality that this band had in the past."

Nothing is more pathetic than a band embracing the claims of their detractors in the ultimate middle finger to haters. That's exactly what Winds of Plague has done on "Against the World." Instead of embracing constructive criticism like they did on "The Great Stone War," they've become everything that critics have accused them of being, even if they weren't. If you need a metaphor for the writing and recording of "Against The World," imagine a man falsely accused of murder suddenly deciding to bomb a day care center just so that the authorities wouldn't be liars. It's that same immature logic at work that has destroyed what was once one of metal's most promising new bands.

Everything bad that I heard about this band in the past - that there were too many breakdowns, that there was too much hardcore influence, that the riffs were boring, that Johnny Plague is too macho, that the band is influenced by hip-hop and that the keyboards weren't important - has now become undeniably true. The band has lost all sense of speed and their lyrics have become cartoonish and laughable. Despite my constant defense of this band, they now seem to be reveling in the bad press that they usually get. In their attempt to stick it to their critics, they've left the fans as collateral damage. Winds of Plague has finally succeeded in doing what few bands before them have been capable of pulling off: eliminating every single redeeming quality that this band had in the past.

The absolute nadir of "Against the World" comes via a cameo by washed-up, former pro-wrestler The Ultimate Warrior. It's one of those tracks that is so utterly pathetic that you simultaneously laugh and cry because of how dumb an idea it is on every single level, from conception to execution. There was absolutely no way to do this right and I don't know who'll be able to listen to this abomination. I have no idea which member of the band though this would be a good idea, but he/she deserves a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the head.

Moreover, Johnny Plague's lyrics have degenerated to the point where he's growling out, “And I do what I do... fuck you!” and “Hailing from the West Coast, the motherfucking best coast.” Thank you so much, Johnny. You've finally managed to rival Gunther and Brokencyde in terms of abysmal lyrics. This is the kind of 17-year-old drivel written on a first draft when a band has no lyrics written before entering the studio, and Plague should be ashamed that he wrote any of it.

Much of the blame for "Against the World" can probably be blamed on the departure of keyboardist Kristen Randall. The thrash influence that characterized "The Great Stone War" is now absent, and it's pretty obvious why. Randall's exit from the band left the rest of the band free to run themselves into the ground with a fresh new keyboardist to haze, who wouldn't get in the way of her bandmate's egos. In effect, it would allow the band to make whatever type of horrible music they wanted to make without any voice objecting to tell them what does and doesn't work. Losing a songwriter is hard, but that usually encourages bands to work harder to compensate, not rush out the album and hope that fans eat it up anyway.

“Against the World” is an affront to not only every fan that Winds of Plague have gained over the years, but all that is considered to be right in the world. This is the sound of a band utterly collapsing upon themselves, creating the worst possible “music” that their label would allow them to release. This is the worst use of $15 that I've managed to spend in three years. The band is better than this and they know it.

Highs: It's unintentionally funny

Lows: Loss of a songwriter, lack of decent riffs, too many breakdowns, a horrible spoken word track, bad hip-hop lyrics growled out, keyboards are vestigial, rushed songwriting, no memorable guitar solos, intentionally becoming a self-parody

Bottom line: A horrible half-hour breakdown with the worst spoken word track I've ever heard in my life appearing on it

Rated 0.5 out of 5 skulls
0.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)