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The Blissful Plague - Illusion

The Blissful Plague
Illusion
by Julius "Dreadheart" Mikkela at 13 August 2014, 5:55 PM

Metal and Core music have a long history of not working well together, even though they share many features and have influenced each other countless time over the years, and by now it has become almost a cultural thing for Metal to resent and demonize Core music. It’s just about come to the point where every time a Metal band reaches out towards Core music to expand or find inspiration, they’re almost signing their own death warrant in the eyes of Metal fans, who defend their music with an absolute, blind zeal of hatred and resentment.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule; a few bands that, though they play actively in Core territory, has won over the hearts of many Metal fans – many of whom have no love for Core music normally, but who find reason to make an exception. My mind goes to bands like KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, TRIVIUM and to an extent bands like ALL THAT REMAINS and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, who each in their own way found a way to merge Metal and Core music into something that doesn’t deprive Metal of its energy and Melodic drive, a trap many Metalcore bands fall into as their overly strong reliance upon breakdowns become their undoing in the Metal scene. And though it may be early to say so, I believe after listening to the 5-track EP “Illusion” that THE BLISSFUL PLAGUE may very well become one of those chosen few Core bands that have a genuine place in the Metal scene.

Much of this is owed to their crystal clear influences from Melodic Death Metal and Thrash Metal, mirroring the inspirations that made the aforementioned TRIVIUM and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE so explosively popular, and their careful use of breakdowns to emphasize the weight of the music the play while not allowing them to damage the Melodic nature of their songs. But unlike some of their peers, Italy’s THE BLISSFUL PLAGUE isn’t just a mere copycat who relies on Melodic and Death Metal to save them, and have instead welcomed in aspects of Technical, Progressive and Black Metal to forge a wide foundation of inspirations upon which they create music with a healthy and invigorating variety of styles and. The perhaps most obvious touch of this is the vocals of Alessandro “Alino” Maltini, who range with little to no effort between guttural Death Metal growls, harsh Black Metal screeches, furious Thrash Metal howls, as well as traditional Metalcore screams and clean singing, with the first three being a most welcome addition to their (Metal)Core-based music. The instrumental trio that backs him showcases in turn time and time again an ability to range and play an impressive variety of styles, tempos and techniques that equals that of, I dare say, their most obvious influence, early day TRIVIUM. That by itself should be an indication of just what these guys bring to the table, but when you take into account that they manage to display this truly impressive range in just 4 songs and 1 intro, that’s damn close to amazing.

The EP starts off with the eerie 40 second long intro track “Be”, which then flows fluently into the title track “Illusion”, a song with a heavy basis in Metalcore-esque breakdowns yet that applies a very TRIVIUM-esque guitar lead to offset what could’ve otherwise become a too full-blown Metalcore song, instead turning into a balanced mix of Melodic Metal and Metalcore. “The New Era” continues with first a touch of the eerie sound introduced on “Be”, which in one hand reutilizes the Metalcore breakdowns of “Illusions” and introduces clean singing, but that on the other hand traverses further into Extreme Metal than its predecessor and showcases influences from more pure-blooded Death Metal. The Extreme Metal inspirations continue with pride on “V. 2.0”, and allow the vocals of Alessandro "Alino" Maltinti to play in their full range in between Extreme Metal-infused verses and a Metalcore-fueled clean sung chorus. The EP ends with “Scent of Madness”, which makes away with all traditional Metalcore elements for furious bursts of Black Metal-esque riffs, solely Extreme Metal vocals and slow, ultra-heavy breakdowns more commonly found in Post-Hardcore and similar genres.

I can say with some certainty that, personally, this is among the best Core music I’ve ever heard. Now it should be noted that I’m mostly not a fan of Core music and make little to no effort to indulge myself in the genre more than I have to, making only a handful exceptions for those Metal-inspired Core bands that I find able to balance out their Core inspirations in favor for a more Metal-fueled sound. But THE BLISSFUL PLAGUE is without a doubt among them, and I can happily say I haven’t been this impressed by a Metalcore band in a very long time. The one and only downside I found with “Illusion” was that none of the songs, as excellent as they all were, had that memorable and single-worthy pull. That is, if what follows this EP can continue what I hope was just the beginning here on “Illusion”. Because if they can, we might be looking at the dawn of the next TRIVIUM.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Be
2. Illusion
3. The New Era
4. V. 2.0
5. Scent of Madness
Lineup:
Alessandro "Alino" Maltinti - Voice
Filippo "Pippo" Segoni - Guitar
Matteo "Il Nico" Nicoletti - Bass
Leon "Funo" Scaramelli - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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