Although the word “epic” is unquestionably overused in describing certain variants of extreme metal, sometimes there’s no better word, and that word springs to mind over and over again in listening to the new WinterHorde single we’re premiering today. Other words also come to mind — words like “savage” and “sinister”, “dramatic” and “soul-stirring”, “fist-pumping” and “infectious”.
“The Greatest Plague On Earth” is the name of this new song, and it’s the first recorded output from this Israeli band after a six-year-long break following their 2016 full-length Maestro (reviewed in detail here). It’s also a sign of what lies ahead on the band’s next album Neptunian, their fourth full-length in a career that began more than 20 years ago.
The band present the song in a video created by Scott Rudd Film that makes effective use of the stunning cover art created by Artem Demura. Flames blaze in the video too (for reasons you’ll understand), but the music begins with embers before gradually building into a bonfire of high-flying extravagance.
The song’s opening acoustic instrumental, backed by the whisper of desolate winds, is a soft expression of unmistakable sorrow, and that melody carries through and evolves, albeit in increasingly intense ways. Pounding drums, vicious blackened snarls, and rolling waves of angst-ridden riffage begin building that intensity, which rises into the power chorus, where soaring voices join those crackling, teeth-bared snarls.
That chorus is certainly one of the features of the track that sticks in the head, but the band quickly make another movement into greater intensity, with bullet-spitting drums and with guitars and synth that become incendiary and swell the heart even more as they channel dire and dark moods on a grand scale. The manic swirl of the lead guitar, blasting drums, and hurtling bass notes drive the song into a feverish delirium, and one more reprise of that soaring chorus provides a grand finale.
If you’re looking for a genre label, maybe something like “melodic blackened death symphonic power metal” would do, but it’s best just to forget labels and listen:
The song’s lyrics are subject to interpretation, but can be understood as an expression of regret and disgust over humankind’s capacity to become imprisoned by their own deluded choices, sacrificing themselves in violence under the command of god-invoking overlords. And so the chorus proclaims: “From the desert tribes / To the hordes on the mounts of north / We are all the greatest plague of Earth“.
WinterHorde Recording line-up:
Zed Destructive – vocals
Yoni “Oblivion” Oren – vocals
Omer “Noir” Naveh – guitars
Benofel – guitars
Alexander “Celestial” Latman – bass and synth
Ivan Welder – drums
WinterHorde are releasing the song on Bandcamp as a “name your price” option. They are happy for fans to take it “for free, as a gift for their patience and loyalty”, but would welcome contributions, and they’ve got merch for sale as well.
More details about the new studio album, including a release date, the record label that will release it, and more, will follow soon. You can catch WinterHorde on the main stage of the Rockstadt Extreme metal festival on August 7 in Romania (more info here).
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