An analysis of Winds of Plague’s Resistance is comparable to an employee at a car garage being tasked with repairing a severely battered vehicle with a gaudy paint job; he could ponder where to begin, or, more appropriately, question whether it’s worth fixing at all. For what the Cali sextet’s fifth album has to offer is a blatant example of why their formula, and albums, will never be successful.
The most prevalent detraction to this formula is the vocal plague struggling behind the mic. While the arsenal of screams available to vocalist Jonathan “Johnny Plague” Cooke is fairly diverse, they’re all cough drops in the candy dish. From his raspy croak to his strained screech to his powerless yell, Cooke proves himself to be the weakest vocalist in modern deathcore. The only strength in his performance is when his screams are heavily layered, and even then he’s adequate at best.
If any further proof of Cooke’s weakness is needed, simply listen to “Sewer Mouth” with Vincent Bennet and “Snake Eyes” with Chris Fronzak. Both of these features not only bring much needed breaks from Cooke, but prove that a stronger vocalist would absolutely upgrade the quality of WoP’s music.
However, this improvement would still only elevate WoP from a free fall off of Deathcore Mountain to clumsy footing on a precarious ledge. There are still a couple of crucial musical weaknesses that WoP has yet to grapple with, and Resistance indicates that the band is regressing further into these flaws. The first of these is WoP’s severe need for a change in guitar tuning; deathcore just isn’t a genre that can be played in E-Standard. Throughout the album, the abundant chugging riffs and breakdowns see the kick drums masking mildly heavy guitars that lack any real girth. This leaves the strummed patterns as the only source of appeal during the songs’ heavy parts, which grows stale extremely quickly.
While the argument could have been made that E-Standard sound was necessary for the band’s technical passages on previous albums, this point loses any support on Resistance. Moments where the fingers of guitarists Nick Eash and Nick Piunno venture down the fretboard are both sparse and lacking in memorability. There are some glimmers of promise on “Left for Dead,” but the blast beat intro and flashy guitarwork middle are both severely underdeveloped and abandoned shortly after arrival.
This absence of technical playing makes for a serious lack of variety, exacerbated by the scarcity of keyboards and orchestral passages that were commonplace on past WoP albums. The only track where one of keyboardist Alana Potocnik’s compositions plays a focal point is on the intro “Open the Gates,” where it is not incorporated into the heavier riffing very well at all (a recurring theme on the album). While the key work of Potocnik and her predecessors has never been all that noteworthy, anything that breaks the monotony should be an encouraged element on WoP albums.
What’s unfortunate about WoP is that every major element of their music is deeply broken. Whereas other deathcore bands need only ease off the breakdown crutch, WoP requires both this and a complete structural overhaul. While these issues have always been present, at least their last album Against the World has some laughable moments at WoP’s expense, such as pro wrestler spoken word on “The Warrior Code” and the brotastic roid rage beatdown that is “California.” On Resistance, WoP spawns not a single track that is enjoyable from either a legitimate or parodistic standpoint.
Here’s the iTunes link if you can’t be bothered to take this review to heart: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/artist/id461576757?affId=1773226&ign-mpt=uo%3D5
Written by: Scott Murphy – October 28th, 2013