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Plague Bringer - As The Ghosts Collect, the Corpses Rest

The more I allow myself to be pummeled, raped, and stabbed by the half-hour of electric diode torture that As the Ghosts Collect, the Corpses Rest is, I find myself thinking time and time again just how accurate the moniker Plague Bringer really is. Much like the sickness it claims as its calling card, this Chicago two-piece is deadly AND infectious at the same time; the utterly deranged hyper-grind on offer here is some of the sickest, most brutal music to be dropped in my mailbox this entire year.

What makes this music so completely skull-crushing is the sound these guys have warped as their own. Picture the likes of Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, or what have you, and then drug them out of their minds on tranquilizers. When they're good and higher than kites, have them go to a cemetery dedicated to long-dead industrial stomp bands and have them dig up the corpse of Godflesh, desecrate it beyond recognition, and perform a few Satanic rituals to boot. The end result is some marrow chilling concoction somewhere between a mid-paced crawl of rumbling steamrollers crushing your legs while slicing knives flay the skin off your upper portions. Both blindingly fast and slow to the point of agony, Plague Bringer is like that unseen outbreak of epidemic that makes everyone really sick for a long time before they all die randomly in record numbers.

"Burn Ward Whore" kicks things off with a brutal, industrialized factory line of stomping guitars and manic drum tracks. The drum machine is actually so robotic it sounds organic, it's hyper, blistering beats fitting perfectly with the sledgehammer swings these meaty riffs are. "Hope and Slow Murder" lashes out right after "Burn Ward Whore" finishes its share of the ass-kicking, a cymbal splash ending that latter song to kick off the former. "Hope and Slow Murder" is primal grind slowed to the point of being meaty, blood-soaked sludge. It's like somebody spilled all their organs in a puddle of mud and ooze, and I couldn't like the slow-paced insanity better than what I do. I'd also like to point out a part or two where the guitars take on a billowing, spaced-out feel that reminds me of more crushing portions from ISIS. Pretty dense stuff, and not something you'd expect in this or maybe any genre. "No Such Nothing" is birthed off a wispy, quiet folk interlude which soon receives a round of nail gun piercings via warpspeed drums and some of the entire album's most furious, caustic riffs. "Halo Trauma" sounds like having your ears stapled to railroad tracks, and the subsequent approach of a bullet train focused on turning you into visceral paste. The animal shriek/gore growls vocal duels are really wicked too, and add to the atmosphere with a manic sense of cloying sanity, furthered even more by a jazzy, off-kilter clean passage mid-track. "The Somnabulist" has some brutal industrial tones to its swirling vortex of blood and slime, but doesn't have enough length to it to truly see-saw between riffs and box your ears properly. "Splinters Through a Straw" kicks off with an oddly epic roar before launching into low hypergrind that churns and mutilates like a blender. The odd dissonant note here and there really adds some extra spice to the track, and this is one really sick song! Closer "Impaled Faith" is six minutes of destruction and devastation, a breakdown giving way to meaty space grind riffs and gruesome brutality.

Vicious, gripping, and scary, this disc is a unique edition to the grind cannon, which seems to be in a resurgence of sorts and is growing into quite the place for avant-garde experimentation. I honestly can't recommend this massacre of an album enough, so do yourself a favor and spread the disease.

1. Burn Ward Whore
2. Hope and Slow Murder
3. No Such Nothing
4. Halo Trauma
5. The Somnabulist
6. Splinters Through a Straw
7. Impaled Faith



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