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Monday, April 11, 2016

Dark Plague - When the Last Christian Dies

Artist: Dark Plague
Release Title: When the Last Christian Dies
Year: 2015
Label: Fallen-Angel Productions
Genre: Black Metal
1. Altered Faith
2. Frozen Years
3. Burning Anger
4. Veil of Veneration
5. Doppelgänger
6. Pure Fucking Hate
7. Sombre Invocation
8. Déliquescence

The second full-length from French black metallers Dark Plague offers a rather intriguing and potentially explosive version of second-wave black metal. Built around swirling, buzzing tremolo-picked riffing at a steady, single-minded mid-tempo pace for the most part, there’s a decidedly cold second-wave vibe from the music here which runs throughout here as this runs into the kind of patterns and arrangements all so prominent in that style. By engaging those rhythms for the duration of the racks, often-times without really deviating much in terms of tempo or rhythm changes, this leaves a very simplified style here of generally fast-paced and intense styles here that leaves this one rather fast-paced for the duration here with this one really getting enjoyable when it lets loose with the tremolo patterns and gets down to the devastation aspect of their sound. Though the quiet, moody sections do come into play here from time to time to offer up a sense of variety among the tremolo riff-work, it’s not enough of a variation to really counteract the one problem running throughout here in that the single-minded nature of so many of the tracks here. It really tends to dominate this one by generally going through one main pattern arrangement for the tracks which generally results in tracks that go on for far too long or generally features a series of bland patterns that don’t go anywhere really exciting or enjoyable. While it’s not a really big problem here, this one does tend to get featured rather prominently.

The first half here gives this a solid example of what to expect here. Opener ‘Altered Faith’ utilizes swirling mid-tempo tremolo riffing and utterly pummeling drumming carrying along at ravenous, stuttering paces as the epic arrangements allow for more melodic flurries buzzing along through the fiery tremolo rhythms racing through the final half for an enjoyable opener. ‘Frozen Years’ opens with frantic blasting over swirling mid-paced tremolo riffing carrying on over the shift into solid traditional rhythms through the stylish series of melodically-tinged tremolo riff-work along the stylish mid-tempo pace running into the finale for another solid highlight. ‘Burning Anger’ features galloping mid-tempo drumming amid swirling tremolo riffing throughout the steady paces dropping into stylish bouts of melodic riffing along the way as the atmospheric swirling tremolo patterns kick back into highly energetic patterns swirling along into the extended final half for an overblown but still enjoyable epic. ‘Veil of Veneration’ uses blistering drumming and frantic swirling tremolo patterns with plenty of furious patterns flowing along through the steady, intense rhythms charging along at a singular pace bringing the intensity along into the frantic tremolo riffing of  the melodic final half for a solid, enjoyable effort.

The second half here continues on with the same overall feel as the first half. ‘Doppelgänger’ features simplistic tremolo riffing and steady drumming paces that hold the simple rhythms along through the main sections here with a series of discordant energetic patterns buzzing along through the pounding drumming holding steady into the finale for a lame, short and mostly misplaced effort that seems there to fill up time. ‘Pure Fucking Hate’ features rattling mid-tempo tremolo patterns and unrelenting blasting drumming running throughout a series of frantic up-tempo paces with the strong mid-tempo swirling riffing leading to sprawling mid-tempo patterns keeping the twisting mid-tempo rhythms into the swirling final half for an overall enjoyable effort. ‘Sombre Invocation’ blasts through intense and blistering drumming over rather simplified tremolo-pattern riffing that continues with the pummeling blastbeats along through the swirling tremolo patterns alongside the thumping rhythms and energetic tempos with a moody atmospheric piece leading into the blazing finale for another stellar effort here. Finally, album-closing epic ‘Déliquescence’ opens with furious blasting and mid-tempo riffing swirling through the sprawling, majestic paces filled with blastbeats and several dynamic rhythm changes that bring the epic buzzing arrangements along through the melodic meandering along with the blasting sections that carries on throughout the twisting final half for a fun if slightly overlong effort that does end this nicely.

While it does have a slight tendency to wander along through meandering patterns and go-nowhere sections, there’s enough displayed that’s enjoyable enough here to make this a solid-if-hardly-recommendable effort for diehard second-wave fanatics or those looking for something more traditional that isn’t too obscure or avant-garde for their tastes.

Score: 80/100

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