A good friend of mine recently brought a band to my attention that has been flying completely under my radar, but since then they have been bouncing around with their new longplayer Circle Of Darkness. I’m talking about the Americans Plague Years, who are making a great mixture of Crossover, Thrash- and Death Metal, whose harshness is currently unbeatable and who will stay in your ears with their great Metal riffs. If you are fans of mosh-, headbang- or stomping parts, this band is the right one for you and you shouldn’t miss out.
Plague Years is a quartet from Detroit that has been up to no good since 2016 and released their second longplayer a few days ago. Their previous release, Unholy Infestation, has already appeared in my feed a few times, but somehow never really made it into my playlist. With their current album Circle Of Darkness, though, this has completely changed. Since I first listened to it I’m a big fan of the brutal, authentic sound of the band.
As fucked up and dreary as the hometown of the band is often described, the metal of the combo, with hardcore elements, also sounds alike. Gloomy, dangerous and incredibly angry, the merciless midtempo hurricane breaks out of the speakers at home and increases from song to song further and further into this frustration. On this album, Plague Years combine massive Death Metal drumming with nasty, deep riffing and varied vocals. The recipe sounds quite simple, but the whole package is rigorous and knows how to please in full length.
While the drums deliver a real energy performance, where you could assume that the instrument is beaten half a meter into the ground, well-timed and pretty nasty sounding metal melodies are fed in again and again. These properly cover the thrash part of the record and are often brought to the fore and in retrospect surely are one of the highlights on Circle Of Darkness. The guitar knows exactly what it takes to make a true metal heart beat faster and adapts to the different tempos without getting out of line at any point.
In addition, the tracks are varied in structure and, despite their blunt basic alignment, always offer passages that can get stuck in the ear immediately. In the progress of the album there is also a lot to discover and much of it immediately gets stuck. The presented aggression can completely spill over to the listener after only a few minutes and convinces in distinctive stomping parts as much as in the faster headbang beating. Especially the songwriting in general picked me up here, which doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but can interweave the different influences very well.
Besides various instrumental solos, you will be able to also find mosh parts weighing tons or groovy parts that merge seamlessly into each other and are often linked by violent breaks. The vocals are no exception in terms of versatility and impress with dark roaring as well as smoky sounding clean passages. Except for stagnation you can find everything on Circle Of Darkness that a modern record of the genre has to bring along at the moment. Even the vocal range known for crossover hardcore is represented in small numbers and becomes even more striking towards the end of the record.
Although Plague Years combine a relatively large number of different elements, the high-quality produced album does not seem overloaded or exhausted at any point. Thanks to the great sound quality, neither the vocals nor the instruments flatten out and can smash anything that gets in their way from front to back without sounding artificial in any way. There are definitely no prisoners taken here and even more so you shouldn’t try to imitate this at home, otherwise you could get seriously injured and suffer permanent damage.
Since September 18th, Circle Of Darkness is also available in physical form and can be ordered through eOne Music ( among others as Creeping Death and Toxic Holocaust). If you like to put your nasty menu on your plate, you should definitely get this one before it is out of stock due to a potential, but in any case justified hype. As a fan of hardcore-heavy metal, you can grab it without hesitation, even if you haven’t listened to the digital version before, without doing anything wrong or getting annoyed about the purchase afterwards.
With Circle Of Darkness, Plague Years have released a fantastic album in my opinion, which will cause a furore especially with its strong, well-balanced songwriting and the bitterly angry stomping parts. Anyone who doesn’t know to which sound to unload their excess energy at the moment, will find what they are looking for here and get their money’s worth. This record invites you to throw a chair and will satisfy fans of crossover thrash and death metal in equal measure. In short, you like Fuming Mouth, Gatecreeper or Power Trip then you should definitely check out the band from Detroit and get swept away. When Corona is finally over, you’ll certainly be able to pick up the full pack of bruises live on stage!
“Play The Victim”