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Plague Of Stars – When Morning Came

Plague Of Stars
When Morning Came
by Andrew Sifari at 26 April 2015, 4:57 AM

The bands I enjoy reviewing most are the ones that are difficult to categorize by normal genre-labels, with sounds more specific and direct than broad terms can cover. Minneapolis, Minnesota’s PLAGUE OF STARS is one such band, building from a Doom/Death foundation and taking things in a host of colorful directions on their debut LP, “When Morning Came”.

The band weave a web of intricate sounds with their melodic, yet crushing approach. Moods range from simply nihilistic to lamenting to seductive, all while keeping a theatrical presence in concert with Melissa Ferlaak’s diverse repertoire. Death Metal mixes with Alt-Metal in “Succumb To Darkness”, where Ferlaak’s sinister cadence gives another dimension to the hellish cacophony of double bass and guitars. “Legacy” opens up with a barrage of muscly Speed Metal riffs before drifting off softly, then crashing back to reality with a strong sense of resentment. Musically, the band are apt to go where they please, taking cues from across the Metal spectrum. The ferocious title track is jarring enough when it abruptly launches into a blastbeat-propelled frenzy, but the wildness that ensues during the chorus puts it over the top. Contrast this with their chilling cover of the old Blues/Folk standard “In The Pines” (or “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”), a haunting, operatic rendition that casts the original in a whole new light.

If there’s any one wild card regarding the album, it is undoubtedly the variety. For people who like to be challenged and like to listen to hear a bit of everything, this album is sure to please. On the other hand, there are definitely a lot of moving parts style-wise, which might not make it accessible to newcomers. On the whole, however, that variety never really distracts from the main focus of the album. The tone is decidedly dark and unforgiving, no matter what gear the band is playing in, which leads to a number of unique and enjoyable pieces of music. “Deception” writhes with a sense of acceptance of its pain before jumping into a more up-tempo, SABBATH-ian groove. “Lady Lazarus”, based on the Sylvia Plath poem it shares its name with, has a great, raw feel to it from the crackling speaker effects in the background, and Ferlaak’s performance is exceptional, full of desperation and conviction.

The fact that solos are mostly absent from the proceedings is rendered irrelevant by the fact that Ferlaak’s vocals are almost like sizzling guitar leads themselves, at times. “When Morning Came” is a striking and wonderfully diverse album that has plenty to offer fans of dark, brooding Metal in all its forms.

4 Star Rating

1. Succumb to the Light
2. Succumb to Darkness
3. Legacy
4. Sense Control
5. When Morning Came
6. In the Pines
7. Lady Lazarus
8. Deception
9. Drown
10. Requiem Liberum Arbitrium
Tim Morton - Bass
Aaron Lanik - Drums
Will Maravelas - Guitars
Melissa Ferlaak - Vocals
Record Label: Zero Budget Records


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