Part of the reason I started writing about the music I love was in the hope people would read it, and recommend me more bands I'd be into. Though I've been doing it for a while now, only a few people have sent me stuff, but nothing that's had quite the impact of Massachusetts' Plague Survivors.
Andrew at Dry Cough Records sent me this tape after having read my review of his next release, On Pain Of Death's Year Naught Doom. If he keeps putting out releases of this calibre, Dry Cough will be one of the labels to watch in the coming months.
Opening track 'Grim Note' is all thick fuzz and torturous feedback, with occasional lapses into something like a song. I'm so glad people get what I dig about bands like this; the filthy, sour tones, the contempt in the vocals, the sort of lurching rhythm that's perfect to spill beer to... As the last sounds die out, I'm immediately sold on this band.
'Foul Voice' begins with a lumbering, crashing stomp, and with a scream the tempo is ramped up to a chugging rhythm the meanest hardcore band could only dream of. The speed picks up again before the track collapses back to the start, the whole nasty cycle repeated before it comes crashing to a halt.
A distorted, warbled voice sounds like the sort of sample heard at the start of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, before the building feedback erupts into the agonising crawl of 'Low Places'. You couldn't even describe this is a song so much as it sounds like the death throes of a depressive set to woozy, swaying bursts of distortion, following the tradition of Grief's 'Lifeless'. About halfway through the thickening feedback and agonised vocals coalesce into a rabid, raving beast of a track.
'Funeral Pyre' closes out side A with the eerie atonal tolling of guitar strings being played with a rusty hacksaw. Dirty drones and the scrape of fingernails on a casket lid build and build, the tension unbearable, the suffocating sensation seems neverending... Until the whole thing burns itself out in the dying howls of distortion.
Side B opens with 'Witch Crusher', a mangled, angular nightmare, with vocalist Matthew Willwerth spewing furious bile over the whole mess. Halfway through there's a truly fucking weird midsection, discordant plinking on piano, backwards-masked invocations and creepy crawling bass. The rest of the track that follows decays further and further away to nothing.
'Ditch Digger' slithers from the speakers, vague whispers like snakes, before the hissing gives way to a sound not unlike the equivalent of having your head slammed against the floor. The bludgeoning subsides, replaced by a Dystopian crawl towards the merciful end.
The tape closes out with a pretty faithful cover of Sabbath's 'Electric Funeral', the usual vocal style abandoned in favour of a more traditional singing style that reminds me of the departure of Olly's vocals on the latest Moss record. You already know what this song sounds like, and if you don't then you've no business reading this blog.
Apparently they have more Sabbath covers recorded, and I really can't wait to hear them, as well as the next release of their own material that they put out.
If you like your sludge on the creepy, hateful side (the way it fucking should be), get into Plague Survivors.
You can pick this tape up from Dry Cough Records here:
And download the various releases that make up this compilation here: