Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Depraved Plague - Systemic

Self Released 2012
1.Chokehold 2.Asphyxiate 3.Endless Torment 4.Degradation
5.Your Final Execution 6.Human Revulsion 7.Decayed From Birth
8.Carnal Rage 9.Rapture In Death
Cambridge based Depraved Plague offer up their debut album, Systemic, which in essence offers us old school death metal with a modern edge. Opener ‘Chokehold’ certainly provides both ends of the spectrum, the groove tinged death metal riffing leading proceedings and very reminiscent of early 90’s era DM mixed with faster blast sections. When the band slows the pace, there are hints of ‘Fleshcrawl’ to their sound, another band whose influences lay firmly in the early 90’s era but with a modern element mixed in to the fray. ‘Asphyxiate’ blasts forth in a barrage of furious blast beats and frantic guitar work, the mix of old and new death metal influences working extremely well. There’s a real groove on display again which is simple, but very effective. As the songs draws to a close, a really dark and sinister guitar riff takes over with the double kicks accompanying the riff well, a sonic barrage which creates a really menacing atmosphere that ends the track perfectly. As ‘Endless Torment’ begins you are led to believe that the band have opted for a change in direction, a change in atmosphere due to the very melodic riff which introduces the track. However, the direction of the song is changed completely with pace injected into the track, taking the listener by surprise, but its definitely a welcome surprise. During the middle section the track loses its sense of purpose somewhat, not really sounding as if it knows what direction to take. Having said that, as things end the sense of urgency returns, as do the blast beats and frantic guitar work and a great way to rescue the track and end on a high.
This sense of purpose is carried through into ‘Degradation’ which is a short sharp lesson in death metal ferocity. Faster blasting sections once again mixed well with slower, groove orientated riffing and yet again (if any reference points are needed) sounding like those German veterans Fleshcrawl, especially through Mark’s gruff and guttural vocal delivery. ‘Your Final Execution’ doesn’t change the well worked formula either, the bands practiced mix of old school Death Metal with the modern edge providing a crushing soundtrack and really sounding a lot more ‘Swedish’ than seen in previous tracks. Similarly, ‘Human Revulsion’ has that hint of old school Swedish death metal to it, which let’s face it, is never going to be a bad thing! Song lengths are probably about right for this style of death metal, averaging about three minutes, get in there – pummel the listener, leave....just as death metal should be! ‘Decayed From Birth’ offers up another brutal death metal beast, a frenzy of blast beats over some really brooding  guitar work, easily the best track so far, the band beginning to sound really dangerous.
For all the bands brutality, DP aren’t afraid to mix things up, by adding some very atmospheric sections which may sound like they won’t fit alongside the brutal parts comfortably, but it actually works really well. As if to prove the point, ‘Carnal Rage’ follows on in a such fashion. The band slowing the track right down after an initial brutal and blasting introduction. And as before they're proving to be a great mix of styles. ‘Rapture In Death’ ends this bruiser of a debut album and yet again mixes all of the bands tempos, atmospheres and influences, from the all-out crazed blasts, to the mid paced groove drenched death metal mayhem down to the sinister, menacing and atmospheric slower sections; all presented in an old school theme. For a debut album, it’s a bloody good effort, nine tracks of crushing, old school death metal but with enough variety to get nods of approval from fans of extreme metal in general. Good effort guys, I have a feeling the follow up will kick us even harder in the teeth than this well presented debut offering. Comes well recommended
7 out of 10

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