Plague make reference to the earliest of old -school death metal. You can hear it in their Florida-flaunting sound (Death, Massacre, Brutality) and the decidedly dated production—a good thing here. You can see it in their logo, which splits the difference between thrash and its more extreme successor. About the only modern thing is the Paolo Girardi art of debut LP Portraits of Mind.
Often the riffs feel slightly off in a way one could only nail by knowing exactly how to make them right. That suggests these Greeks could have made an infectiously catchy melodic death metal band but pledged themselves to darkness. It’s the slight progressive edge that informed later early-period Death (or early mid-period) that keeps things interesting.
That off-kilter feeling is characterized in “Portal into Reality,” which possesses a more palatable Demilich lurch but book-ends it with some deadly tremolo picking and a groovy—dare we say moshy—section.
The mid-song lead in “Cave of Vectors” weeps, with its follow-up posing a question answered by blunt death metal bludgeoning. However, it’s a more straightforward and fun beating than fellow Greeks Dead Congregation, whose guitarist A.V. is co-releasing the album on his own Martyrdoom Productions alongside Redefining Darkness Records.
They get closest to that cavernous sound on “Mind Control,” which brings in some dingy black metal influences. It’s epic in both sound and scope—coming in at nearly eight minutes. Fortunately, this makes it the perfect album closer.
You can listen to the album early in the player below. It’s officially out tomorrow, February 14.