Mar 012023

The stylistic banner of Seattle’s Plague Bearer brands the band as Unholy Black Satanic War Metal. The striking cover art of their debut album is itself a devotional to demons, and the song titles also scream blasphemy at the top of their lungs. The band’s cloaked, hooded, and masked countenances on stage double-down on the ethos of Hell come to Earth. And of course the album’s title, Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation, is perhaps the most brazen foreshadowing of the ruin within.

Given all that, some people might already be expecting nothing more than the kind of malformed and potentially monotonous sonic abuse that’s the stock in trade of many units who sadistically attack listeners’ ears under the genre sign of Blackened Death Metal. But there you would be leaping to the wrong conclusion.

To be sure, Summoning Apocalyptic Devastation is an explosive and devastating experience, frequently poisonous, almost relentlessly bone-smashing, and as intrinsically evil as all the surface hallmarks would lead you to expect. But the songs also pack riveting riffs, mood-changing melodies more nuanced than you would guess, and the performance skill of veteran executioners.

And thus in those ways (and others) the album may surprise listeners (less of a surprise if you’ve heard any of the track premieres that have preceded the full stream we bring you today). Indeed, we think it’s likely that this is a record which will still be vividly remembered come list-making time at the end of this year. Continue reading »