Winds of Plague – The Great Stone War

winds_warArtist: Winds of Plague
Album: The Great Stone War
Genre: Metal
Label: Century Media

It’s been some time since Winds of Plague’s debut, Decimate The Weak, sought carnage on the scene. However, the band hasn’t been sitting around by any means, they’ve been on the road seemingly nonstop since the record’s release. Somehow, in the midst of ridiculously hectic schedule, they finally found time to record what just might be the heaviest album of the year. The Great Stone War takes the brutality of Decimate The Weak, tightens up the package and sprinkles the strength of 10 hurricanes across the top to create an album that is sure to be praised for some time to come.

An eerie, yet epic narrative welcomes us into the album. You can feel the concept of battle in the echoes of the narrators voice and the synth accompaniment only serves to further the impact. Though it isn’t until “Forged in Fire” explodes from the starting gates that we know just how far WOP has come. The dull, overly repetitive drumming of the first album has been replaced with extremely well produced sounds that paint vicious imagery of battlefields at night with the guitars serving as the weapons of war while the battle cry rings out. These ideas continue strongly throughout “Soldiers of Doomsday” and even get stronger with “Battle Scars” which is so thick with chugs and fret work that you may need to take a break halfway through just to gather everything that is happening.

Those seeking something a bit more epic than quick snare/pedal/high hat metal will also find plenty to love on the record. Tracks like “Chest and Horns” appear every so often to take the scale of the album to new heights. The synth isn’t used as some niche dance craze, but to paint vast portrayals of something bigger than WOP and the lyrics intertwining with squeeling guitars and deep bass chugs simply enthrall you throughout. However, none of the tracks on this album, or any other reent metal release, can compare to the greatness of the title track.

“The Great Stone War” may be the most well orchestrated metal song of the last 5 years. Yes, I went there. Beginning with a sparse layer of orchestral sounds, a universe is built around the song long before the verse even hits. As the band comes in, you’re taken deep into the heart of the raw powerful force most metal fans feed on. There is no gimmick to be found here. No overdramatic epic of guitars or drawn series of chugs, but a relentless assault on all forms of the art of heavy and though “Tides of Change” finishes out the record, it really only serves as a farewell to the title track and basically waves goodbye as you leave the record with your jaw on the floor.

I was a bit nervous about hitting play on the new Winds of Plague alnbum as many bands in their genre are quick to become stuck to one, narrow minded, sound. However, upon even your first spin of The Great Stone War, you’ll find Winds of Plague have quickly become one of the most driving and intriguing acts of the new generation of metal. This record is almost flawless and will without a doubt be on the entire staff’s end of the year list. This is metal at it’s finest and most brutal. This is, The Great Stone War.

Score: 9.5/10

James Shotwell
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