Winds of Plague Against the World

This release picks up where Winds of Plague's previous album left off, this time with a new member and more attention to their trademark symphonic sounds and vocal variations rather than the simple breakdowns and deathcore emphasis of The Great Stone War. Cathartic explosions of intricate guitar breakdowns, well-placed chugging riffs and grandiose symphonic elements make WoP's fourth release a force to be reckoned with amidst the rest of their discography. Vocalist Johnny Plague impresses with his progression, switching constantly between low gutturals and beastly shrieks. New keyboardist Alana Potocnik has improved the band's symphonic elements, providing a less gimmicky and more in-tune inclusion of keyboards within each song. As an album, Against the World loses its momentum halfway through due to an overexposure of cross genres. The tough, white boy gangster image confuses as to whether the band would rather be closer to the West coast hardcore scene (à la Terror) or stick to their symphonic deathcore status. "California" is a word-for-word cover of the '90s hip-hop song of the same name by Dr. Dre and Tupac, while "Raise the Dead" would make any Trans-Siberian Orchestra fan proud. (Century Media)