Are you a fan of mind altering weirdo technical deathgrind? Do you enjoy bands like Phyrron but with strange psychedelic elements thrown into the mix? Do you like your music to be as confusing as it is overstimulating? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then this is definitely going to be the album for you. So if you want an album that’s going to leave you in worse shape than when you came into it, do not miss this.
Artist: Plague Rider
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: November 10th 2023
Location: United Kingdom
Written by James Sweetlove
Are you a fan of mind altering weirdo technical deathgrind? Do you enjoy bands like Phyrron but with strange psychedelic elements thrown into the mix? Do you like your music to be as confusing as it is overstimulating? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then this definitely going to be the album for you.
Intensities has been described by many as one of Transcending Obscurity Records’ albums of the year, which is no small claim to make, given the quantity and quality of the label’s releases in 2023 (or any given year). But I can definitely see why people are claiming this. This is truly something unique, something special in the extreme metal realm. The album isn’t just abrasive or technically complex, its also atmospheric, immersive and captivating. There’s so much at play that it will take you several listens to even take it all in.
So what exactly are we listening to here? Well that’s probably one of the more difficult questions to answer. My best attempt to describe it for you would be a blend of dissonant technical death metal, grindcore and noise with psychedelic and thrash. If you’re thinking that it sounds like a lot to jam into one album, you would be correct, it is a lot, a whole lot. That intense level of diversity is what either makes or breaks the album depending on your opinion. If you like music that overstimalates, confuses and at times straight up assaults you (like me), then you will love this. However, if you’re someone who likes melody and room to breathe in your music, then this will not be for you.
Next you’ll probably want to know what it sounds like. Well it kind of sounds like two different bands getting into a fist fight but using their still plugged in instruments as weapons. I’m kidding of course, but you get the idea. This is violent, unrelenting stuff right here. The riffs are unrelenting, but you never know what they will sound like or how they will present themself. Sometimes they’re highly technical, hitting the listener like wave after mind blowing wave. At other times they’re highly dissonant, seemingly having no direction other than to add noise and heaviness to the album. Then suddenly you’ll be hit with psychedelic, spacey guitar work that changes the whole mood of the album. Just as you get used to that the band will suddenly launch into a thrashy headbangble rush of riffs and hooks.
Vocally the band give us a whole range of varied sounds and styles. Primarily is an unhinged grindcore style shriek that makes up a large part of the vocals on display. This style has a real bite to it and adds an additional edge to the music. Alongside that is a more guttural style that backs up the primary shrieked style, it adds some nice diversity to the mix. Finally we have a third style that has a haunting sound to it, that only appears at times when the music is either at its most atmospheric and haunting or most chaotic.
The other element that makes the album so impactful is the length of the songs, which run between 6 and 12 minutes on average. You may be thinking, “dear god that’s so long for a deathgrind track, especially one this chaotic and intense” and you would be right. That is in fact a very long time for music of this nature, but somehow the band make it work. It never feels too long, it always feels just long enough. This length allows the tracks to grow and expand as they progress, as the band work in different elements and sounds over time. The release just would not be the same with shorter 3 min standard song times.
Overall this is an album that will definitely not be for everyone, its just that unhinged and overwhelming. But what I always appreciate about bands of this nature is that they don’t care about those people. They know that there will be people like myself or and of you reading this who enjoyed the album that will always come back for more of their unique style of punishment. So if you want an album that’s going to leave you in worse shape than when you came into it, do not miss this.
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