Review Summary: Lady, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask you to leave the store.
Over the years there have been quite a few bands that have named themselves The Plague. Today though, I'll be reviewing New York's deathrock inflicted miscreants. Forming in 1987 and led by charismatic frontwoman/flutist Margot Day, the band put out one solid record called Naraka before fading away into obscurity.
Naraka is a fun record to listen to because while it's less musically abrasive than it's 80's dark punk peers, it makes up for the lack of primal intensity with catchy, melodic hooks, spectral atmosphere, pulsing bass lines courtesy of Bones, and Margot's high-pitched banshee wailing that recall to mind Skeletal Family's Annie Marie-Hurt but higher pitched. Margot's secondary contribution is the flute which pops up from time to time, adding a mystical element to the punchy guitars and driving bass. The title track Naraka opens the record like you're at a sabbath just standing around in a black robe listening to the high priestess chant with some Evil Dead camp thrown in the spoken word section. After that brief intro, the albums rocks from then on out. There are points where the band feel like they're jamming out in a magic circle in the woods due to the creative and energetic atmosphere created by Margot and company.
While all seven of the tracks on this twenty three minute LP presented here rip and tear away at the human flesh, it's the last two tracks on this album, Never Die and Paradise of Pain, that truly made The Plague great. Never Die is a perfect mix of magical atmosphere and metallic punch as Margot brashly wails against her mortality, or lack thereof in this swaggering, ghastly banger. Paradise of Pain trades out some of the punk energy of the last track initially for some subtle post punk melodicism before breaking free in the last half with chaotic, layered vocals and anthemic riffing that project a feeling of the dead being summoned from beyond to ravage the earth.
If you like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kommunity Fx, Skeletal Family or are consistently in a Halloween type of mood then you should definitely give this a spin.