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Winds Of Plague - "Decimate the Weak" (CD)

Winds Of Plague - "Decimate the Weak" CD cover image

"Decimate the Weak" track listing:

1. A Cold Day in Hell
2. Anthems of the Apocalypse
3. The Impaler
4. Decimate the Weak
5. Origins and Endings
6. Angels of Debauchery
7. Reloaded
8. Unbreakable
9. One Body Too Many
10. Legions

Reviewed by on February 28, 2008

"An aggressive and melodic cross-genre extravaganza."

If you live in one of the more temperate climates of the world, you might not be able to relate so much; however, anyone who has ever experienced a Canadian winter knows that the morning after a particularly icy snowfall, the commute to work can seem much like a battlefield. The kind filled with idiot drivers turned landmines-on-wheels that can’t seem to remember how to drive in the snow in spite of living in it all their lives, but a war zone nonetheless. That being said, when I backed out of my garage after having loaded the latest album from Winds of Plague for the first time, I quickly discovered the perfect soundtrack to survive the trek.

“Decimate the Weak” is the major label debut of Southern California deathcore act Winds of Plague. Released through Century Media Records, the disc is chock full of well-thought guitar riffs, thundering bass lines, and a fat and fast double kick, complements of drummer Jeff Tenney. And oh yeah, vocalist Johnny Plague made the rest of the discs in my glove box vibrate.

Offering listeners an aggressive and melodic cross-genre extravaganza, this album isn’t entirely original, but if you’re into hardcore at all or perhaps dig a little death metal with a splash of something-something, definitely check it out!

Formerly known as Bleak December, Winds of Plague have drawn comparisons to bands like Bleeding Through, As I Lay Dying, and even Job for a Cowboy, and it isn’t difficult to figure out why. But what really stuck out for me were the keyboards. Sure, some of these other bands have keys, but these are kind of...epic.

Being a keyboardist myself, pretty much noodling when I’m not working, I’m a total sucker for the symphonic, and that might make me a little biased here. Synth player Matt Feinman, who has since been replaced by ex-Abigail Williams keyboardist Kristen Randall, laid down some pretty solid layers on “Decimate the Weak,” as well as some interesting textures that weave in and out from the surface of the songs. Okay, so maybe they aren’t the most intricate or amazing keyboard riffs you’ve ever heard, but they work.

Aside from the ol’ ivories, I have to say this: the really mellow and clean guitar riffs in “Angels of Debauchery” are actually kind of pretty, especially when the drums kick back in, followed by some wicked guitar sweeps from guitar duo Nick Piunno and Nick Eash. Overall, the Nicks don’t overwhelm with endless guitar solos or try to prove they can play. We know they can. We can hear it in their crunchy riffs throughout the album and in the well-rehearsed dual guitar leads, especially during “Anthems of the Apocalypse” and "One Body Too Many."

If I had to find something on this album that I didn’t really dig, it would have to be the overuse of gang vocals—for obvious reasons—and perhaps a few too many breakdowns. Even though breakdowns are a huge part of deathcore, a distinct trait from its metalcore roots, it’d be really awesome to see few more subtle transitions on the menu when it comes time for a follow-up. Nonetheless, “Decimate the Weak” is going to hang out near my car stereo at least until spring, a kind of auditory hero for all those snowy days to come.

Highs: The savory keyboard tones combined with the knowledge that this album would surely scare the crap out of my mother, no matter how much metal I've inadvertently exposed her to over the years.

Lows: Some not-so-subtle coarse language throughout the album might deter some from checking out "Decimate the Weak."

Bottom line: This band isn't afraid to experiement. Drawing from a wide spectrum of influences, they aren't trying to mold their music to fit into any one genre.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)