Winds of Plague

Decimate the Weak

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For metalheads, the 2000s will no doubt go down in history as a time in which Europe dominated death metal, black metal, gothic metal, and the power metal revival/prog-metal scene while the United States dominated metalcore and screamo. But that isn't to say that American tastes and European tastes cannot intersect; there are European bands that have been influenced by metalcore, and there are American bands that have been affected the Nordic death metal/black metal scene. Winds of Plague falls into the latter category. This extreme metal band is from Southern California, and one hears a blend of American and European influences on Decimate the Weak, a 2008 release that brings together metalcore, death metal, and black metal elements. Lead singer Johnny Plague favors two different extreme vocal styles on this 36-minute CD, fluctuating between a metalcore/hardcore scream and death metal's deep, guttural "Cookie Monster" growl. Plague goes back and forth between the two a lot, and he has no problem making it sound like a metalcore singer and a death metal singer are performing a duet. Plague doesn't really get into any black metal-style vocals (that is, a sinister rasp), but the black metal influence on Decimate the Weak asserts itself in the form of blastbeats and ominous harmonies. This is an album that, for all its vicious, head-kicking ferocity, is not without nuance and not without a sense of melody. In fact, some of the guitar playing hints at old-school power metal. Decimate the Weak is mildly inconsistent, but all things considered, it is a decent example of metalcore, death metal, and black metal elements coming together under the extreme metal umbrella.

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