Societas Oculorum Arcanorum, 2013
Genre: Black Metal
1. Intro - Left Hand Prayers
2. Trąby Zagłady Cz. II
3. Śmierć Cieplna Wszechświata
4. Slaying The Spiritless Abel
5. Magia Gwiezdnej Entropii
Here is the moment we've all been waiting for. A Plaga full-length and they really give us something incredible to talk about this year. They've really solved a lot of production problems they were having on the prior releases. Everything is superbly well done so that only the darkest atmospheres shine through.
It's rather incredible how much of this very compelling Black Metal was released this year. However, when I look back at what had been released in 2012, this year is a little weaker, but we've still had some very stunning releases to celebrate this year. Plaga's "Magia Gwiezdnej Entropii" is certainly one of them. Black Metal's focus on crafting atmosphere has really reached an all time high. I would love to say this is the pinnacle, but I feel like every five years or so the genre gets a jump start with a new an interesting approach. The level of darkness bands like Mgła are able to evoke with albums like "Hearts Towards None" is simply mind blowing. I really hope people don't start looking at Plaga as Mgła Part 2, because I have seen comments to that nature. I feel like Plaga's approach is fairly different, but the Mgła influence is clearly undeniable. What I really feel we have on our hands here is a blending of Csejthe and Mgła's style to create something in between. The lead guitar sections a solidly in the form of Csejthe and they can even take on a somewhat melancholic feel. However infused with this is the sheer power of Mgła, which casts this feel in a vastly different light. Plaga sounds angrier and far more commanding, especially when some of the vocal lines kick in. I feel like I am being called to action, whereas I rarely got this feeling from either Csejthe or Mgła.
In the end this is a 2013 release not to be missed as far as I'm concerned. The Mgła influence is undeniable, but I do not know if the musicians in Plaga even listen to bands like Forteresse or Csejthe. If you like that signature Quebec sound cast in a more violent light this might wind up being a very interesting listen. I sure found it very impressive and this is an album I'm sure I'll listen to for a long time to come.
Societas Oculorum Arcanorum, 2011
Genre: Black Metal
1. Goblet of Bitterness
2. Pożeracze Słońc
Plaga finally return with a studio recording this time, but again with only three tracks. I like seeing that they spend a lot of time on their writing process, but I am eagerly awaiting a full length from this band! Perhaps this EP is just to show that the band is still working on material and new songs are still being written.
If you enjoyed the first two songs from this band, I find it hard to believe you would dislike this material, since it is written in a very similar vein. "Goblet of Bitterness" opens with a far more intense sounding approach than I was expecting. Despite the lead guitars having that somber approach, the drum work is fast and intense giving the song this strangely vicious feel. You would imagine that these opposing forces wouldn't seem to work well, but with Plaga they manage to make this work. It actually sounds quite different from a lot of other material being performed today and I think that's one of the reasons I think Plaga really adds to the world of Black Metal.
I need to geek out for a minute, because Plaga included something very cool in this booklet. Behind all the occult and ritualistic imagery, we unfold the booklet to see a fairly famous image from modern documentaries on cosmology. The image is a Black Hole siphoning off aspects of another Sun. The image alone is great, but what's even more interesting is they also include some of the physics equations. I've seen some of these when I was working on my degree, but one of the most notable is the equation that finds the Schwarzschild radius. This is the radius around a Black Hole in which light cannot escape, hence the division by c^2. The equation solving for T, looks similar to an equation called the Bohr radius, which was for solving the radius of an atom. I vaguely remember using this quite often when I took a class that covered some basic Quantum topics. I'm not sure what the other two equations are, I'd have to scour my text book shelf. The function solving for phi is probably a potential function of some kind, since that is a pretty common Greek letter to use for that. I have no idea what the fourth equation is though I don't remember seeing it.
Anyway, Plaga tease us with another great release. I still want a full length and I would love to see more math and physics! The drum production is a little better this time around, but I still think it could be cleaned up a little more. Not too much, they're very close to having nearly perfect production for this style with an excellent balance between raw and very well mixed. I truly can't wait to hear what will be next from this project, because I am expecting great things.
Genre: Black Metal
1. Trąby Zagłady
3. Triumfalny Taniec...
Plaga enter the Black Metal scene like a force to be reckoned with. Originally self-released on a tape in 2009, this band is quickly noticed by many in the world of Black Metal. I am reviewing the re-released CD version from 2010 published by Societas Oculorum Arcanorum.
The absolute worst part about this release is there are only two tracks. Plaga leaves us wanting more with every second that ticks by. I think many will draw comparisons to Mgła, which is probably a major influence for Plaga. However, the way Plaga approaches the lead sections feels quite a bit different and just enters a different level of atmosphere. It is unsurprising that we see this material was re-mixed by Mgła. The end results is some of the darkest and most compelling Black Metal being performed. The material comes across as a bit more melancholic and somber compared to the medatative intensity Mgła is generation. The only other aspect of this release that didn't work out very well was the drum production. Unfortunately, the drums came out very poor during the recording process and somewhat mars the material. I would love to hear the tracks re-recorded, but that is probably unlikely. Despite how epic "Triumfalny Taniec..." is with its nine minute opus, I think "Trąby Zagłady" is the stronger of the two songs. The untitled track is just an acoustic instrumental that merely sits between the two songs.
In the end this is some incredible material. It actually reminds me a bit of the type of Black Metal being produced by Quebec projects like Forteresse. However, Plaga's approach is so much more dark and sinister that it sounds like a very different take on that style of Black Metal. I really can't wait to hear what Plaga produces in the future.