Artist: Sorrow Plagues
Album: Sorrow Plagues
Genre: Atmospheric Black/Blackgaze
One of my very first reviews here on Fetid Dead was double EP review of Lustre and Sorrow Plagues. During that review, I had some lukewarm feelings about Sorrow Plagues; I could see the potential, but at the same time, there were a few issues that I thought needed to be worked out by the band. With the release of their debut album, Sorrow Plagues, I have to opportunity to revisit the band and see how they’ve grown. So, first and foremost, have my complaints with the band been worked out? Well, for the most part, yes they have. However, they’ve introduced a whole new set of issues along with it.
My main complaint with the EP An Eternity of Solitude was that it felt too intense, like it was a constant crescendo, and there wasn’t enough time for any of the songs to breath, or at least the album itself. This has been completely worked out by the band. Not only are the songs compositionally less crazy, the whole album has a pacing that actually works quite nicely. It appears that Sorrow Plagues has learned how to write a song that leads the listener toward the amazing finish, rather than throwing it right at them out of the gate. The songs themselves sound really quite amazing; there is almost constant strings providing a gorgeous backdrop, the guitars are fuzzy and soaring, the vocals are wretched but buried deeply, the piano is heartfelt and powerful. Sound really good, doesn’t it? Well, yes it does. Except for the fact that I’ve heard this before.
My main gripe with this Sorrow Plagues album is that it is so, so very close in sound to what many would say is An Autumn for Crippled Children’s breakout album, try not to destroy everything you love (as much as a Blackgaze band can have a breakout album). When I first turned on Sorrow Plagues, something just felt off; the fuzzy guitars sounded extremely familiar. I spent a few listens wondering until I placed it, and I turned on try not to destroy everything you love to get some comparison. Essentially, if you swap out An Autumn’s soft synths for Sorrow Plagues pretty string sections, you have a very similar sound. I even played a game with a friend who was passingly familiar with An Autumn for Crippled Children where I would jump to songs for each album in a mixed-up order and have them guess which band it was. The game did not show Sorrow Plagues to have a terribly unique sound. Now I know on my original review I mentioned the connection between the two bands, but it was more of an “inspiration” connection. This album, on the other hand, does not feel like it was inspired by try not to destroy everything you love; it feels like it was used as a template.
Take from that what you will. In the music world, everything is in flux, bands are constantly inspiring each other, taking little feathers from each other’s caps; this is how music moves forward – by “remixing” other sounds. I tried very hard not to knock the band down for this, and to enjoy Sorrow Plagues for the music it brings. It is quite nice music. My hope is that Sorrow Plagues will take what they’ve greatly improved on with this album, specifically the song composition, and branch out to do something different.
Get it on Bandcamp: https://sorrowplagues.bandcamp.com/album/sorrow-plagues