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Plaguepreacher - Terracide - 92%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 8th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Grazil Records (Digipak)

Having been formed in 2018 (before the whole COVID shit started) the Austrian combo Plaguepreacher are another proof of the big talent pool Austria has to offer. Their newest EP “Terracide” has gained quite a bit of positive feedback and deservedly so as these five songs spread over more than 27 minutes of playing time absolutely rip. While listed as black/thrash the black metal side of things clearly dominates, combining a lot of elements that have worked before to create their own brand of fierce and relentless music.

A short intro paves way to the first merciless attack in form of track number one “Abhorrent Beast”. From the first riff onwards it becomes obvious that this is classic black metal sound and fury, heavy in both atmosphere and melody, hearkening back all the way to the prime days of the genre. Of course this might not be overly innovative, but the way how the music has been executed is so powerful and enjoyable that I personally do not care. Yes - innovation can of course be something positive, and some bands deserve credit for pushing the boundaries of the genre, but Plaguepreacher do a fantastic job in honoring the past while bringing the music they love to the now.

There is a lot going on in the timeframe of this EP, so that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve dosed on a much larger quantity. There are enough punishing blast-beats, tremolo runs, sinister harmonies and howling vocals to be found here to satisfy even the most jaded of blackened souls. This is the sort of record which appears simple on the surface, but which constantly reveals new details with each and every listen. This record is so perfectly edited and crafted that no note seems extraneous or tiresome. The music just comes together so well from beginning to end, which speaks volumes about the band's songwriting skills. Each break is there for a reason, and even more unorthodox elements like cowbells feel naturally embedded within the bigger picture.

There are some more technical parts, dissonant arpeggios, jolting percussive assaults, tempo and rhythm changes and rampant blasting, but overall the main focus is on delivering a nicely flowing experience for the listeners at home. Some of the chords offer more of a thrashy vibe, lending the whole thing an additional kick. The vocals are also executed in convincing manner, perfectly fitting the instrumentation.

The record is rounded off by a nice production job. The wailing guitars sound clear and crisp, and the drums have enough punch and a natural and organic feel. While there is always something going on in the background and atmosphere is king there is a certain level of rawness left, giving “Terracide” enough grittiness to be of interest for any fan of heavy yet harmonic music. The stunning cover artwork makes this EP a complete package and a must-have for fans of the genre.