Review 1957 : Plague Rider – Intensities – English

A new adventure for Plague Rider!

Formed in England in 2011, the band quickly released a demo the same year, shortly followed by an album, as well as two EPs. In 2023, Jake Bielby (guitar, Dybbuk, ex-Live Burial), Lee Anderson (bass, ex-Live Burial, ex-Horrified), Matthew Henderson (drums, ex-Live Burial, ex-Horrified) and James Watts (vocals, Dybbuk, Arkanar) sign to Transcending Obscurity Records to announce Intensities, their second album.

Temporal Fixation offers a few clear notes as an introduction before the band gradually accelerates, placing a few screams in the background before the surge takes place, letting Old School sounorities lacerate us over chaotic patterns. The dissonant sound speeds up and slows down over and over again, before fading away and flaring up again on An Executive, whose unhealthy yet catchy groove immediately rages on in what could be called an organized imbroglio, which never ceases to spill out complex, crafted parts. The band doesn’t skimp on unexpected harmonics before letting Modern Serf take over with another fix of the skilfully crafted unexpectedness to make its riffs relatively coherent while remaining possessed by devastating madness. The same surging energy animates Toil, a short composition that struggles to reach the three-minute mark, but doesn’t waste a single moment in unleashing all its strength thanks to ranting and a stirring basis, before the band takes a slightly more progressive approach with The Refrain, which is almost three times longer. In addition to playing a convoluted rhythm whose intensity would make any seasoned musician swoon, the band adds disturbing screaming touches to its most aggressive moments before surrendering to dementia again to join Challenger’s Lecture in hitting us in every possible way. Although the track starts off slightly more conventionally, the musicians soon add their surprising and explosive touch, with a more suffocating section at the end, and then it’s with the twelve minutes of Without Organs that the album comes to an end, leaving the four musicians to scramble to occupy the whole of the allotted time with a mix of just about everything they know how to do, whether at full speed or more slowly, but above all with a maximum of strange effects and mastery.

Whatever you think of it, Intensities is a remarkable album. Extremely hard to access, Plague Rider manage to keep a coherence in their madness, a logic in their chaos, and a visceral virulence in their new album.


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