Review Summary: WOP return to their roots
As if Decimate The Weak and The Great Stone War, weren't awesome enough, LA natives Winds Of Plague come back with a vengeance and destroy their past work. No, seriously, just about everything on this album has improved. Full of vastly improved keyboard, a much larger variety in the drums, pretty good lyrics at times, and quite a few guest appearances by Mattie Montogomery of For Today, Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed, and even The Ultimate Warrior. Yeah, this album was absolutely amazing.
First of all, despite what some say, I believe Johnny Plague is a compotent and even amazing vocalist. Sure, he inhales most if not all screams, he says "***" a lot, and he sometimes believes he's black (it's the LA in him), but he works with the band. He gives off a certain energy and it really helps the band in a huge way. That's especially apparent on ATW with his powerful battle music anthems. Every song makes you want to jump around or punch someone or slay a dragon or something ridiculous and over the top like that. He jumps from shrieks, gutturals, shouts, and just regular talking like it's nothing. He's personally one of my favorite things about the band.
Next, the keyboard, which is probably the biggest improvement over all. A common complaint I noticed with TGSW was that the symphonics felt more gimmicky that time around when compared to DTW. Well, that comparison can't be made anymore since new keyboarder Alana Potocnik got recruited. DTW merely dipped into symphonics and TGSW just experimented a bit with it. ATW has her jumping headfirst into it. Her keyboard skills really shine when playing horror type symphonics on tracks like the album intro, "Raise The Dead" and "Monsters." She also tries a few new things with Japanese sounding elements in the spoken word track, "The Warrior Code." She also improves on the already established "LOTR battle music" with tracks like "Built For War" and "Strength To Dominate." Her work on this album blew me away.
The drums were also a huge plus. TGSW saw a new drummer in Art Cruz, but that album suffered from extremely repetitive beats and breakdowns. It seems that Cruz took the criticism pretty well and changed that quite a bit. This album is full of diverse breakdowns, blast beats, and even a little bit of almost military style drums in the intro of "Built For War" and some old school hardcore type beats in "California" I wasn't impressed with Cruz on TGSW but he definitely proved he's a great drummer with some good ideas.
Lastly, the ridiculous and crazy guitar and bass from DTW makes a triumphant return. The crazy solos and extremely noticeable bass are back and better than ever. Both guitarists mesh well together and make sure to have plenty of complex guitar and not too much chugging. The solos are best on songs like "One For The Butcher" and the title track. However, the chugging is here and clearly evident, but it doesn't ruin the album. I also really enjoy how loud the bass is. Most bands seem to have almost non existent or very hidden bass, and that isn't the case here.
Overall, this album is near perfect. It experiments with some very subtle electronic in "One For The Butcher" and "Against The World." It doesn't seem like WOP will be going all dancebeats and autotune on us, but the electronic is hit or miss. I prefer the symphonics, but some variety is nice too. If you like this band, but this album. It's amazing. Against The World truly crushed everything.
Raise The Dead
One For The Butcher
Built For War