Ever wondered what The Acacia Strain and The Black Dahlia Murder would sound like if you rammed them together headfirst inside some kind of doomed-out super collider? No? Well, Plague Father have. What about Darkest Hour meets Cattle Decapitation, by way of Watain? Plague Father have you covered for that one as well.
Hailing from the humble Welsh county of Pembrokeshire, this misanthropic debut EP brings together a number of influences that—although readily identifiable—have perhaps never been put together in such specific combinations before. The duo practice a brand of doom-laden blackened death metal that doesn’t shy away from modern conventions and certainly isn’t afraid to let rip every now and then. Misery Ritual strikes a perfect balance as a 5-track EP—cramming immense amounts of density and variation into a compact package that never outstays its welcome. The intense nature of Plague Father’s material has the potential to become overwhelming in a long-form setting. However, presented in such a short burst, it both encourages and rewards repeat listens and closer inspection.
Misery Ritual would be an impressive feat coming from even an already established act. However, the fact that it serves as the band’s debut along with the outfit’s peculiar makeup only render it all the more impressive. As alluded to above, Plague Father is listed as a two-man operation (though the nature of the band’s actual line-up for this record is somewhat unclear); consisting of Gwynne Taylor who is responsible for all the guitar parts and the original writing of the album’s impeccable drum programming (with former band member James O’Donoghue claiming responsibility for the album’s bass work), while Jon Foreman delivers a powerful and versatile vocal performance that—though it draws heavily on the influence of one Travis Ryan—might just be the next best thing besides the genuine article. The record’s production is, likewise, suitably monstrous, with each and every note slamming clearly into place as the malevolent machine that is Misery Ritual marches on.
Although these Welshmen borrow liberally from a number of conventions, their compositions are anything but derivative. For a band to release something as accomplished as Misery Ritual as a first effort is an accomplishment in itself. Yet, what is truly exciting about Plague Father and this EP is that it’s only the beginning. If these two Welsh lads are to be the arbiters of the forthcoming death metal apocalypse then I, for one, welcome them with open arms.