Video Premiere: Plague Years – “Play the Victim”

Art by Joe Petagno

Plague Years deliver a dose of deadly crossover thrash on “Play the Victim” and upcoming sophomore LP, Circle of Darkness. Out May 22 on eOne, the album boasts influences from as far as Brazil (Sepultura) and Germany (Kreator, Sodom). There are stylistic cues from U.S. bands (Slayer, D.R.I., Iron Age and Obituary) but none from home state of Michigan.

However, the Detroit band make sure you know where they’re from in the video. It opens with a gritty shot of the Michigan metropolis before heading inside—hopefully one of the more derelict buildings—for a show. The beer soars through the air, encouraged there by collisions in the mosh pit, almost as much as headbanged hair. It’s the perfect visual accompaniment for a song that is as fun as it is furious.

Like contemporaries Power Trip, Plague Years turn chugging into an art form, making simple stomps feel like genuine riffs. The chugs bookend a thrasher of a song, which blazes as often as much as it breaks it down. Vocalist Tim Engelhardt sounds somewhere between Max Cavalera and Jamey Jasta. The music is similarly right between the metal and hardcore worlds; you’ll almost surely be able to find either side if you’re listening for it.

Guitarist Eric Lauder expands upon the band’s goals with the new album and the meaning behind its lead single.

“With this record I wanted to carve our own lane in metal. It’s darker, heavier, faster, and everyone crushed it from the performance to the production. This song is about that narcissistic person in everyone’s life: someone who seems incredibly loyal but is just a shell of person filled with darkness. You show them the same loyalty, but they stab you in the back. Then when it comes time to confront them, they manipulate the situation and ‘Play The Victim.’”

Pre-order Circle of Darkness here.