An unbiblical plague soaked in symphonic deathcore
-- When Plagues Collide --
|■||Santy Van Der Mieren||Guitars|
Review written by Glenn Schrijvers.
Who are they?
This Belgian band started their journey from Zaventem back in 2016. When Plagues Collide delivers symphonic deathcore with traces of black metal. They released 2 independent releases: the debut EP "Shrine Of Hatred" and the debut album "Tutor Of The Dying" (the latter of which we reviewed a long time ago, read it here: https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/98).
Live When Plagues Collide has shared stages with bands like Within Destruction, Distant, Archspire and Aborted. Due to the band's success they signed with the Belgian record label Necktwister Reccords in 2021 and they'll be releasing their second album "An Unbiblical Paradigm" next week. They shared stage with bands like: Within Destruction, Distant, Archspire and Aborted. The release show for "An Unbiblical Paradigm" will take place at the Hell café in Diest on 9th April with support When Plagues Collide's friends called Slaughter The Giant, Knives To A Gunfight and Waves of Decay.
"An Unbiblical Paradigm," like its predecessor, was recorded at the Project Zero Studios by Yarne Heylen (also known as member of Carnation) for producing, mixing, engineering and programming. In the past Yarne worked with bands like Slaughter The Giant, Epica, Schizophrenia and many more great Benelux metal acts. The cover art is something to behold! It's like a Rorschach test because everyone would see something else. For example, personally, I see an eagle, an elephant and a goatish devil and everything ingulfed in flames. The album features 8 songs for a runtime of approximately 40 mins.
When Plagues Collide unleash hell with the first track ‘Converted Into Cipher.' It starts off with an unsettling intro featuring orchestral sounds combined with raven cries that suddenly erupt in a violently explosion of vicious riffs, malevolent blast beats with the spiteful vocals of Wouter. The ending breakdown with the orchestral sounds is quite something else. It gave me chills and the urge to headbang!
Next up is ‘Death In Progress’ wherein we even get more orchestral sounds and even more menacing blast beats, talk about putting the pedal to the metal. Wouter's vocals are outstanding and he shows his skillset with ferocious high-pitched screams and well-known gutturals! In this song we also have a guest appearance of Svencho (Aborted/Coffin Feeder), something was expected to happen since When Plagues Collide's newly recruited drummer Siebe is also a bandmember of Coffin Feeder so my hopes were high for this collaboration. Svencho delivers a fierce vocal assault that only he can deliver with his recognizable voice. Be warned, my fellow Shredders, because this song has the potential risk of getting your head torn off due to severe headbanging! That outro with the piano is perfect for picking up the lost body parts after the slaughter that has just taken place.
‘God Complex’ was the first single for "An Unbiblical Paradigm" and this one already came out in 2022 in order to give us a glimpse of what to expect of the new album. And I've had the honor to have already experienced that one live at the front row! And this song doesn't dissapoint on record either. The orchestral sounds reminded me of Slaughter The Giant, then there's that finger devastating solo that unleashed the smell of burned flesh along with those melodic riffs and the guttural loaded breakdown, it's an epic tune both live and on record.
Next up is ‘Glutton’ that immediately throws everything what When Plagues Collide has to offer from vile riffs, well-balanced orchestral sounds with blast beats, epic solo work and some of the nastiest gutturals and screams I've heard on record. This song has one the strongest breakdowns of the album, so brutal it could literally break your spine! ‘Monopoly Of Violence’ was the second single for this album and came out earlier this year. It's quite remarkable that the album doesn’t slow down but keeps going like a raging bull totally out of control! This one is also one of my personal favorite songs in When Plagues Collide's discography due thanks to Wouter absolute demolishing this track with his well-known stance for creating these demonic noises.
The following track ‘The Grand Mouth Of Hell’ makes you feel you've descended into hell itself thanks to the dark atmosphere and black metal influences that are prominently featured in this track. What stands out in this song is the perfect harmonic balance of orchestral sounds with the vicious guitar riffs and fast paced drumming versus the slow-paced intense breakdowns. ‘Devourer Of Memories’ delivers the album's final punches in our face with deadly precision and demolishes our eardrums with intent. The last breakdown hits out of nowhere giving me the signature stank face (of approval).
The album's final song ‘In Alle Stilte’ is a piano-driven ballad written by Wouter in honor of the tragic loss of Siebe's brother and is about loneliness, depression, despair, hopelessness, suicidal desires and the invisible torment that the victim's loved ones do not see until it's too late. The lyrics are confronting, intense and very emotional. Personally I was hit particularly hard by the phrase “Hij wachtte tot zijn koude, helpende hand definitief kon worden verwarmd door de uwe. Een onomkeerbare, een door uitersten gedefinieerde handeling. Een roeping die ook gij doopte tot obligatoire missie.”
When Plagues Collide is like a fine wine, they only get better with age. They've always been working on improving their skills and this new album shows the latest progression within the band. Wouter's vocals are a true force to be reckoned with (especially his gutturals). Siebe's drum skills are beyond amazing with his precision,finesse and timing. In fact, I'd dare say he's the Belgian version of the late great Joey Jordison. Joris and Santy deliver very melodic yet vicious riffs and Joshua keeps it all together. All this creates a solid foundation that has now resulted in this masterpiece. When Plagues Collide are the pioneers of Belgian melodic deathcore and they've now honed their craft towards absolute mastery. This is for the Shredders who enjoy bands like Thy Art Is Murder, Ov Sulfur, Fit for An Autopsy and Enterprise Earth.
A well deserved 90/100