PLAGUEWIELDER - Plaguewielder EP
Who the fuck is Plaguewielder? I am perfectly aware that Luxembourg has currently more bands to offer than I can be aware of, but most of the time they just play some kind of deathcore that doesn’t really offer anything new. And then there is Plaguewielder, founded by two members of crust punk band Discordant System, who decided it was high time that Luxembourg got its first doom metal band. And I couldn’t agree more.
Back in 2012, the idea was to become a funeral doom band, but fortunately the quartet soon discovered that their music would be much more rewarding if they added elements from all kinds of doom subgenres. So you get a lot of sludge, drone, epic and funeral moments, mixed together with a healthy dose of post rock and avant-garde experimentations.
What I like about Plaguewielder is that they have understood that a good doom song should never limit itself to a short running time. The three songs consequently run between eight and fourteen minutes, allowing the songwriting to slowly unfold its many mystical charms and never shying away from unexpected surprises.
The opener Drowned is running a little over twelve minutes and shows instantly what Plaguewielder is all about. The intro is crawling in an evil sludge tempo, the guitars unravelling power chords that take no prisoners. A good minute into the song, the vocals join in. Don’t expect any operatic antics! Instead we get hysteric screams and growls from the deepest pits of anguish and misery. A minute later, the guitar just stops, leaving the drum pounding the cymbals in solitude before the bass and later the keyboards add a threatening atmosphere. There are more such weird moments of quiescence, and then, nearly six minutes into the song, we get one of the most goosebumpy guitar solos I have ever come across. It comes with technical finesse that I wouldn’t have expected in this genre, taking the listener once again to a 180 degree turn of pleasant astonishment. The second song Casket Of Dying Flesh is the only piece below ten minutes, and therefore one should allow it its more catchy approach. Especially the keyboards add a certain psychedelic feeling reminiscent of Cathedral. The album ends with The Funeral March, with thirteen and a half minutes the EP's magnum opus. Once again the band mixes together all kinds of different elements into their already rather unique sounding concoction.
Not everything is perfect yet with Plaguewielder. The production is of course low budget but nevertheless very functional. The keyboards may not always find the most ideal sound yet, but they do add something refreshingly different to a genre that lately has been known for its open-minded attitude. It is also kind of funny that the band’s vocalist has the same geeky look as the actor who played Clark in the final season of The Office. So yes, Plaguewielder may not have the most evil essence, but they certainly know how to come up with creepy doom sludge that hides occasional moments of purest beauty and bliss. So yes, this is definitely a quartet of newcomers, but they have convinced me already more than 99% of what is currently going on in Luxembourg. Enough said now! So check out the guys’ Bandcamp page and download the EP... it’s the fan-friendly pay-what-you-want scheme. And then hope that their next album will come out pretty soon.