Sorrow Plagues – Self Titled

For my latest underground review I was recently approached by one man black metal band Sorrow Plagues from the UK on my Instagram account about reviewing it’s debut self titled album.  While this kind of Black Metal is not really what I’m looking for, I was taken back by the song structures on some of these tracks – although I do have one major complaint.

“Fade” opens the album up, kicking in right away.  Upon first listen it almost sounds like your usual symphonic black metal.  You know type, the lush keyboard arrangements, the blast beats that may never end.  But as the song progresses it becomes more than that.  From an atmospheric standpoint this will undoubtedly come off more like Bathory’s landmark Sign Under The Black Mark than Emperor’s Into The Nightside Eclipse.  It’s all about the aura and everything else is literally just a soft bed for the vibe.

Upon hearing the piano piece that opens up “Aspirations” I was very surprised to hear what sounded like the drums being played far away.  It’s that effect you might hear in other styles of music, maybe pop music, or even dubstep – but not Black Metal!  So I’m taking points off for that alone.  Remember, I’m not the biggest fan of this style of Black Metal, so while I’m in fact listening to this with an open mind I’m still a bit biased.

In fact, you hear it again in the intro to the next track, “Awaken”.  In fact, I wondered for a bit if it would evolve into something else at all.  And, while it did, there’s one thing I have to give credit for and it’s that for once I’m not really sure what emotion I’m supposed to feel.  It all feels a bit cinematic for me.

As I get to “Twilight” I realize that most of these tracks are just as piano based as they are atmospheric.  With “Twilight”thing also begin to get a bit heavier again.  But just as I think things can’t get any more experimental, the fuzzy guitars that open up “Surrender” sound very…happy.  Very unusual for most Black Metal, as most songs are almost never NOT written in all minor keys.  “surrender” also features one of the albums most luscious arrangements, including a calming piano break that lasts a good two minutes before it all comes crashing down again.  Again, very cinematic.

Do yourselves a favor and get comfortable before listening to “Redemption”, the album’s 10-plus minute closer.  Sorrow Plagues really like their pretty passages because that opening guitar line just twinkles.  From there it builds up nice and slow, until it becomes something that’s more worthy of being an 80’s-era arena rock song than a Black Metal song – all while still hearing that twinkling guitar the entire time.  But this track in particular is reminder of the big problem I have with Sorrow Plagues’ debut album.  It really is nicely done.  It’s very well written and arrangement, such a ballsy experimental piece, very ambitious.  I understand that the guitars in Black Metal are not really supposed to be so loud in the mix but the least that could’ve been done was to bring up the vocals much more because I can barely hear anything!  And by the way, yeah, the guitar could have been mixed at least a little bit louder.

Here’s the link to Sorrow Plagues’ Bandcamp site:

http://sorrowplagues.bandcamp.com/album/sorrow-plagues

Thanks to Sorrow Plague for contacting me.  Be sure to check out the site, more reviews to come soon.

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