Winds of Plague

Against the World

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Winds of Plague are one of the more thuggish deathcore bands around; they're not quite the knuckle-draggers Emmure are, but at the same time they lack Emmure's entertaining lunacy and genuine commitment to fracturing the listener's sternum with downtuned breakdowns and triggered kick drum booms. What they have on their side is chest-beating machismo (despite a rotating cast of female keyboard players) and a moderate talent for thrashy riffs -- which, of course, they frequently subvert in favor of one-chord chugga-chugga parts that make hip-hop gear-sporting high-school boys bounce around the mosh pit, joyfully punching each other in their neck tattoos. There are some surprises here, such as the 90-second spoken word track "The Warrior Code," on which wrestling champion The Ultimate Warrior spews what sounds like the narrative prelude to some video game where you get to play the samurai warrior who's depicted on the album cover. The weird chant on opening track "Raise the Dead," which sounds like a cross between a nursery rhyme and something from a Tim Burton movie, is oddly effective, as are the fake strings on "Monsters." But for the most part, this album is an exercise in adolescent bluster. And if that's all you want from a metal record, it'll make you very happy.

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