The Greek underground metal scene has been dominated by black metal bands for many decades. Recently the newer generation began to shift their focus on thrash and death metal. This led to a sudden emanation of collective bands such as Dead Congregation, Necrovorous, Mass Infection, Abyssus etc. The Greek old school death metal quartet Plague is yet another band that falls into that category. The Athenian outfit’s debut album was released half February via Redefining Darkness. ‘Portraits of Mind’ is overly varied and stupendously brutal.
Plague carries U.S. death metal influences and blends them with technical elements, without sounding similar to contemporary bands. The combination of chunky death metal riffs and horrendous guttural growls gives the album a huge sound. One of the factors that make the debut sound raw is the technical prowess of the guitars and the thudding double bass and blast beats. Album opener ‘Intersperse‘ kicks off with a short piano melody but then slow drum beats gradually form a heavy death metal tempo. Bulky pulverizing riffs and chopping drum beats display a high level of brutality.
Thus the extreme form of old school brutality overwhelmingly builds the entire sound of the album. The focus of the quartet is to bring intensity, while guitars execute some gnarly solos and guttural growls are uttered in deep. Plague seems confident as they present their old school tendencies in a raw fashion. The guitars on ‘Portal into Reality‘ are charged with the riffs’ locomotive intensity. The clear influence of Floridian death metal bands such as Death and Massacre is present in the mechanism of unstoppable riffs, the intricacy of which is modeled to fit into variable and unsteady tempos. The climax of tempos is reined by technical solos. Whenever the pace slows down, you can hear some elements from Death’s album ‘Spiritual Healing‘.
These elements are fused into the song structure, as there are many other qualities brought by the old school standards. Drums are crucial when the tempo shifts into a faster pace. Plague clearly draws inspiration from Death‘s Chuck Schuldiner in the riff department. ‘Pandemic‘, for example, is one of the outstanding tracks that mix the slower guitar sections in that style.
Through this approach, the use of fascinating riffs and melodies are featured on other tracks such as ‘Deranged Madness‘. The infectious hooks are expertly executed, although I must say that this is one of the rare times that I have seen such unfaltering professionalism from these Greek lads. ‘Portraits of Mind‘ is loaded with heavy chunks of death metal riffs. Not one single track on this debut feels weak or flawed, despite its variety. Plague have their own style.
Album closer ‘Mind Control‘ is among my favorite tracks. The technical riffing and boisterous drum beats boom loudly. Again, the band throws some hints from Death’s album ‘Spiritual Healing‘ and ‘Human‘. Although the track may sound overly technical to some, the effect of guitar melodies suggests intelligence and a full understanding of how to write death metal songs. ‘Portraits of Mind‘ is a top-notch death metal record parallel to old school death metal classics. If you like modern and old school death metal, you must check out this album.
Release Date: February 14th, 2020
Label: Redefining Darkness
- Portal into Reality
- Deranged Madness
- Cave of Vectors
- Shattering the Illusion
- Mind Control