In late 2015 after 13 years of creating aural destruction, Winds Of Plague announced that they would be going on a brief hiatus. They planned to take some time out, but that that they would return to touring before you knew it and would also have new material in tow. They did exactly that. They returned to touring in 2016 and have been back on stage ever since, and the new material is nearly upon us in the form of Blood Of My Enemy; their first offering since 2013. The symphonic metalcore brutes have returned, and the time out they took has just made them angrier.
The record opens up with the instrumental orchestral workings of A New Day, which is aptly named considering their hiatus. The choice of instrumentation and the way it builds to a climax makes it sound like a procession, almost like they’re marching back into action. Nameless Walker shows that’s exactly what they’re doing. After a few cymbal stabs and chugs they burst into blast beats and guttural vocals, wasting no time to set the pace for the album. It packs everything we’ve come to know and love about the band into one furious package. It showcases metalcore tinged riffs, blistering solos and disgusting breakdowns, all soaked in enormous orchestral synths. There are a few tracks that prove they’ve still got some tricks left up their sleeve, such as lead single Never Alone. They flaunt their penchant for blackened metal here, and they do it masterfully. The track begins slowly and softly, leading you to believe that it’s going to be a slow mover. A slow mover, it is not. The following blast beats, tremelo picked guitars and symphonic layer plunge you straight into an eerie atmosphere. The chorus is essentially a catchy chant backed up with a wall of chords, and the galloping breakdown is impossible not to headbang to. The album is full of heavy punches, with tracks such as Kings Of Carnage. This one’s a slightly slower track that’s driven by an infectious breakdown with the capability to snap a few necks. From Failure, Comes Clarity shows a more chorus driven side to the band, boasting a hook laden vocal melody over a nice yet haunting chord progression. 5150 may or may not have been named after the infamous Peavey amp, but it certainly boasts a crushing guitar tone and is jam packed full of dirty riffs. The riff that follows vocalist Johnny Plague’s statement “No one’s gonna cry when you’re f*cking dead” is an undeniable pit starter, and the chorus that follows it is both heavy and catchy. One of the big highlights is the title track Blood Of My Enemy, which is an enormous slice of anthemic metal. The track begins with a Japanese sounding section, tying in with the cover of the album, before jumping straight into epic chords and a fist pump-worthy verse. The chorus, featuring stunning vocals from keyboardist Adrienne Cohen, is immediately memorable. Backed up by the gigantic chords and tasteful synths, this chorus is immediately loveable. And the breakdown, oh my. I wasn’t expecting it, seeing as the song up until that point played out as being a sort of ballad. But when it happened, it almost folded me in half. There isn’t a weak track on the record, and it flows really well, never sounding dull or uninteresting. This is a real gem of an album.
This record reminds me of Bleeding Through in a lot of places. That is in no way a bad thing. The thrashy bits are really thrashy, the melodic bits are really melodic, and the heavy parts are really really heavy. The sheer pace of the record is completely unforgiving, and keeps you sat right on the edge of your seat until the very end of the record. Both the screamed and clean vocal patterns are catchy and well phrased. The guitars and bass combined are weighty and pack an enormous punch. The drums are thunderous throughout and really cement everything together, carrying the record with pure power and aggression. Whatever they did on their year out, it worked. Blood Of My Enemy is without doubt a return to form. Winds Of Plague are firmly grasping the American metalcore flag, and they’re flying it high.