Review Summary: An epic faceplant.
Winds Of Plague is a fairly bizarre band which draws heavily upon symphonic elements to enhance their brand of Deathcore. I hardly find their brand of Symphonic Deathcore the most stimulating thing yet at the same time I enjoyed them a lot as a band to just chill to. After listening to The Great Stone War I believed they had the ability to improve upon their sound and perhaps drop a few of the 'Core' elements which people tend to loathe about this band. However if anything this album is effectively a step back and a disappointment for a band who can do so much more better.
Production wise there seems to be a drop in quality. It sounds a lot more muffled than previous albums which benefited from a clean production which helped maintain a sense of flow. The production on ATW just seems to drag down the album a lot and just doesn't seem to hit home as much as the past two albums.
Positively fans of the band will find what Winds Of Plague are best known for; Symphonic Deathcore. Put simply the band doesn't really pull off any new tricks yet sticks true to their heavy emphasis upon keyboards to apply symphonic effects which are mainly applied to Breakdowns, often to good use such as the ending of 'One For The Butcher.' or the beginning of 'Monsters' which at times make the breakdowns used sound...'pretty"' It may be a subjective opinion but it appears to work quite well on this album. When not chugging the guitar work can at times be well executed with an emphasis upon very melodic leads such as on 'most Hated which can be compared to DTW.
Negatively however it seems that the band is likely to draw hate because pf the material on this album. The negatives in this case seem to outweigh the positives. The most irritating thing about this band interestingly enough is their attitude. Considering the fact that this is the album which followed TGSW it seems unusual that Winds Of Plague have regressed back to their old 'Bro' style. Songs like 'Reloaded' made DTW face plant and the initial view is that they may have learned their lesson after TGSW. Initially listening to 'One For The Butcher' there are the instantly recognizable gang shouts but they just don't seem to have the same impact they did on DTW. The spoken word passages just sound ridiculous and disrupt the music as the whole band effectively seems to slow down for them. Furthermore the slurry of guest vocals are wasted. Vocalists from bands such as For Today, Terror and Hatebreed contribute yet are utterly wasted in some areas and in some areas seem to dominate such as in 'Drop The Match' which make Jonny Plague's vocals seemingly redundant. Their attitude to music effectively makes them the source of such ridicule yet the gem of stupidity on this album is perhaps 'California.' Think 'Reloaded' only much worse.
Although I mentioned the guitar work and keyboard work as being positives it's also a step down from past work. Winds Of Plague caught my attention because of their ability to actually make Deathcore sound epic. The combination of melodic guitar leads along with symphonic elements often created some incredible passages of music yet here it's gone. There are no longer any epic passages and instead we're met with an increase in both chugging and breakdowns. The breakdowns can be good at times but also insanely monotonous. It just seems frustrating that a band with much more ability has opted out some incredible melodic passages and instead replaced them with tiring chugging. It's almost like they've tried to out do Emmure in terms of boredom and chugging.
In the end it seems that if you look past the pretty symphonic elements it seems that Winds Of Plague have just made another Deathcore album. I was truly disappointed with this album seeing as I actually enjoy listening to Winds Of Plague. It's inclusion of more 'Bro-core' elements(Yes, Bro-core) and it's stupid attitude just seem to irritate whilst it's apparent step back in guitar work just seem to disappoint. If you're new to Winds Of Plague don't listen to this as it will just bore you. Listen to The Great Stone War instead because it just does everything much better than this album.