With such a plethora of different death metal influences to choose from, it’s very likely that from time to time, I’ll find one that really sticks from the technical realm. Enter Plague, a Greek project that just dropped their debut record Portraits Of Mind. Despite the threatening nature and complex structure, I find them to be a good band to ease into since there’s a tamer nature that avoids anything too nasty. Efforts like that are always a nice change of pace.
Not to say that this isn’t a harsh disc to divulge in. The dense build that holds this together is composed of deep tremolo riffs played at rapid speeds, while extensive and hoarse vocals are caked on top. The deeper you indulge, the more the technical spices become prominent. You can pick up subtle doomy rhythm patterns and gang chants in “Deranged Madness,” without it losing its core backbone. “Cave Of Vectors” is also quite an impressive tune. It blends a whinier, wistful solo that reflects later-era Death, and the drumming on this is top-notch.
Admittedly, there are some areas that trudge on a bit much, which is almost entirely in the longer songs. The trailing ends of these are what I’m referring to. On the plus side, Portraits Of Mind manages to stay brief enough as a whole and otherwise doesn’t overdo anything regarding the band’s hunger to exceed norms. If Plague tried to force an overly long record, it could have gone south.
Moreover, I love the smooth viscosity that’s present. They go from chugging rhythms that gallop in a comfortable, mosh-friendly style into complex solos and passages without much agitation. Solid riffing sequences in “Portal Into Reality” are crafted on wind-ups with a gradual descent, backed by more stellar drum beats. “Pandemic” (a relevant tune) is a straightforward banger, holding the title for the most traditional song that dials back any bells and whistles, lead by an aggressive stomp to carry us in.
For a debut album without a long history of demos and EPs behind it, this is rather impressive. Any fan of death metal could find something to appreciate about this, and it lets on a promising start for the future of the band. It may have taken nearly ten years for a full-length since formation, but you’ll find that to have good reasoning.
Portraits Of Mind dropped on Valentine’s Day this year, through Redefining Darkness Records. Find yourself a CD copy or hear it digitally right here.