Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Winds of Plague - Against the World

Goddammit WoP I will fucking stab you

I'm reviewing this one pretty much out of a sense of obligation at this point, since Decimate the Weak was an easy target that I reviewed mainly to make jokes and point out that the band really did have potential underneath the horrendous earlobecore elements.  Fate then conspired to bestow a physical copy of The Great Stone War upon me, which blew my mind by actually turning out to be a pretty decent album.  So a year or so later I hear they've released yet another album, this one with almost no hype behind it (there was a ton of hooplah behind DtW (which sucked) and almost none behind TGSW (which was okay)), so I figured maybe they had continued to improve upon their symphonic melodeath style they were playing around with on the previous album. 

You don't have to pick up your socks this time, this is just as atrocious as you thought it'd be.

I hate to harp on aesthetics, but one look at this album really should have given me a hint to drop my expectations back down to where they were after reviewing the first album.  The samurai that adorned the first two shitty albums (but not the good one) is back on the cover, front and center like he's always been.  The title alone could have told me that this was going to be an almost comical trainwreck.  Against the World.  Man if that doesn't sound like the creed of a wannabe hardcore kid who got yelled at for not taking out the trash, then I don't know what is.  The title, the blue tint, the actual artwork, just everything is a throwback to where they were before, and to the surprise of nobody except me apparently, that's exactly what happened.

I'll be the first to admit that I can get behind some retarded, chest beating brocore of the worst variety.  I love For Today, and they're a bunch of really pushy Christians who pretty much just break down and yell about how you're a shitty person for being human.  What Winds of Plague offers is a bunch of pushy douchebags who just break down and yell about how they DON'T RESPECT YOU 'CAUSE YOU GOT NO RESPECT AND WE DON'T RESPECT PEOPLE WHO DON'T RESPECT, RESPECT?!  People like to tear into Pantera for this goofy kind of primitive tree trunk pissing, but Pantera has got absolutely nothing on Winds of Plague.  The lyrical content of almost every song here consists of how awesome the vocalist and his crew are and how everybody else is a bunch of wannabe pussies who should stay out of their way.  I can handle stupid lyrics and attitudes I don't agree with, but my Christ WoP has got to be the worst at this.  Cook's yelling has actually gotten worse, shedding any tinge of metalness he may have previously carried, now being even more into the hardcore camp than he was before, yelling like Jasta and just as unintimidatingly.

Musically, basically all of the metal elements have been stripped away completely, and even the keys (their sole defining feature, mind you) take so much of a back seat that Rosa Parks would have to squint to see them.  There are a few strong metallic parts in a couple spots (most notably the first minute or so of "Strength to Dominate"), but otherwise this is brocore to the bone.  "One for the Buther", "Drop the Match", "Refined in the Fire", and most hilariously "California" showcase this expertly.  Gang shouts, rapping, one note slamdowns, it's all here in abundance, almost entirely devoid of the occasional blast beat or light key section the band used to chuck at the listener occasionally.  They've basically stopped playing the flip flop game and finally settled on one style to focus on.  Before, the songs would be irritating due to the nonsensical hopping between hardcore, melodeath, symphonic metal, and deathcore, but now they've decided to eliminate that problem by focusing solely on hardcore, which is a shame because they really suck at hardcore.  I mean really, one listen to "Drop the Match" or "California" should give so many kids flashbacks to their nu metal days, and this is supposed to be their tough, kick ass statement to the world. 

What makes this album extra irritating in comparison to it's predecessors is that their trademark "boring middle of the album" is even more boring and nondescript than previous albums.  I can basically tell you nothing about any songs between "Refined in the Fire" and "California".  They all just kinda happen, there's almost no creativity or standout songwriting (good or bad) on any of the five or so tracks in the middle.  The only reason the album picks up at all near the end is because "California" is such a hilariously poor attempt at a tough brocore anthem.  Seriously, I hate to quote a section of lyrics again, but:

Put yo' haaaands up!
Reach fo' the sky!
Do what I say or let the bullets fly!

That's just... so fucking stupid.  I can barely wrap my brain around that, it's just so unabashedly dumb.  I don't even want to comment on it further.  Just... LOOK AT IT.  Look at that lunacy, that dipshittery, that fudscullery.  I have to make up words to describe how stupid that is.  That stanza needs a helmet, seriously.

Now, despite being uninspired and stupid tardcore that I've spent the last several paragraphs raging against, observant readers and adoring fans of mine have probably realized by now that I actually awarded Against the World a higher score than Decimate the Weak, which I've implied isn't as terrible.  The thing is that while the quality here is consistently low, it's actually a better effort in my eyes because Winds of Plague actually know what they want to do this time.  Flopping around like a fish out of water between three or four styles that just do not mesh makes for a very irritating listen.  This, on the other hand, is consistently bad nu metal/hardcore crap but at least it doesn't keep changing it's mind every three seconds like a fussy child.  Winds of Plague are a bunch of dickbag fucknards for getting my hopes up with a decent album facing the right direction before unleasing this tattooed bumcore monstrosity upon my naive, sensitive, and non-stretched earlobes.  Stop toying with me you monsters.

RATING - 22%

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