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Welcome the Plague Year review

Chad Snowden

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Few bands in the hardcore scene today possess more than squealing guitars, machine-gun drums and some guy screaming about his ex-girlfriend. Even fewer would allot moderate tempos and beautiful melodies within the chaos. Welcome The Plague Year has no qualms with defying conventional hardcore pigeonholes. Their self-titled debut album is anything but predictable?quite a breath of fresh air from the herds of sound-alike kids in girly jeans. WTPY is set to explore rhythms and soundscapes that most bands could only wish they wrote, what else would you expect?

Made up of members from You and I, Neil Perry, Joshua Fit For Battle and Makara, WTPY plays unbridled symphonies of despair and conquest. “Behold a Pale Horse” starts off this composition by leaving the ears scratched and bloody with break-neck changes and jogging rhythm. What sets WTPY apart from their contemporaries is best displayed on what happens after Behold a Pale Horse: silence.

“Humming to a Dead Song” starts quiet and works its way into an earthy and sad groove. Movements much like Satan’s personal orchestra wade through this nearly seven-minute long opus until it culminates into a swirling crescendo. But the song has a surprise in store for you before it ends in its jazzy caboose. WTPY make good use of their instruments but almost as impressively is their affinity for silence. The lost art of empty space during recordings is perfectly executed on this release.

“Doomsday Parade” is pretty in its creeping beginning of double guitar melodies and hugging bass. The drums set the stage to explode any minute. When it does hit, you know it was worth the wait. The aggressiveness that WTPY pushes forward is that of intelligence and creativity. Ending “Doomsday Parade,” with a sound clip that gives you your daily affirmation and maybe a better sense of self.

WTPY is all over the place with their offering. “Into Twilight,” the album’s cornerstone starts out much like the other epics on this album. However Into Twilight is built up to what seems to be smooth terrain. The anticipation of the track is brilliant along with the pulsating drum roll that takes you to the first destination of the song. Shining octaves run the melody around the cling and clatter of ride-heavy percussion. “Into Twilight,” then takes you to your next destination, complete with distant guitars, variations of drum rolls and a lush bass line that won’t leave your head for days.

What’s most impressive about WTPY’s debut is the flow. S/T is an album that clearly should come with instructions to listen from beginning to end without any interruptions. Alone, the songs could stand on their own, but the full picture is a better representation of WTPY. To get an idea of just how far these guys will go with dissonance and chaos you need to look no further than the album’s closing song.

“Improv. 1. Take 1.,” is just as it sounds. About 15 seconds after, “Of The Bridges,” a soft delayed guitar is faintly audible but essential to where the song will go. WTPY wanted to give the listener a glimpse of what it might be like to be at a WTPY practice. A build up of cymbals and octaves run into a romp of drums and bass filled beauty. No vocals touch this track, which leaves it all to the band to keep your interest. In the eight minutes that this song takes up not one moment is uninteresting. Since this is an improved session, few bands can noodle outside the hippy/jam band scene, because more often than not it’s boring. Not WTPY. “Improv. 1. Take 1.,” goes quiet around the five-minute mark. This leads the listener to believe that the song is over, but at 5:47 the albums best attack of guitar, drum and bass hits and then dies into a sound clip that speaks of doom and gloom. WTPY is your tour guide through this doom and gloom of hardcore brilliance.

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Welcome the Plague Year review