Mastiff – Plague (Review)

Mastiff - PlagueMastiff are a hardcore/sludge metal band from the UK and this is their second album.

Mastiff play the kind of pitch-black ugliness that I really like. Mixing styles and genres into an extreme metal mass of festering hatred and misery, Plague contains elements of doom, sludge, hardcore, and grindcore, all hatefully mixed together and vomited onto the listener with scorn and bile.

Yep, we like this sort of thing very much around here.

This kind of hybrid band is always troublesome in the sense of what to actually call the music they play. The mix of different styles and sub-genres is done so effectively and naturally, that to just refer to them as a sludge band, or a hardcore band, (or whatever), doesn’t quite do them justice. Ultimately it doesn’t matter too much, of course, as this is just a violent, intense, and diverse array of filthy nastiness. Maybe that should be a genre?

The songs splice the band’s influences together into a hideous amalgamation of monstrous proportions and intent. This is music that wants to eradicate you utterly, and is just crazy enough to do it.

As mentioned above, this is a diverse listen in many ways. Mastiff are quite comfortable unleashing crushing groove, ultra-brutal grind, breakneck hardcore, darkly atmospheric melody, and walls of doom, with a lot of other areas covered in the cracks between these too, (some harsh noise, for example). As such, each song here has its own personality and reason for existing, slotting into the album as a whole very well.

And what of the singer? Well, he roars like a possessed, diseased lion. His voice is deeply unpleasant in the best of ways, and suits the music down to the blood-soaked ground.

With well-written songs, a recording that’s heavy and dirty, and music that basically balances both style and substance, Plague is an extremely enjoyable slab of abominable heaviness.

Think of a combination of elements of bands such as Nails, Primitive Man, Sunlight’s Bane, Plague Widow, Crowbar, Full of Hell, and the like. If you’re a fan of this sort of music, then you need to check out Mastiff.

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