“Circle of Darkness”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sometimes you just need to wade into the pit and start beating someone and for times like that, there are bands like PLAGUE YEARS. Coming out of Detroit, this is not a band designed for deep contemplation, but rather pure ferocious headbanging.

The band borrows a little from various bedrock metal bands like SLAYER, EXODUS, HATEBREED, CRO-MAGS, LAMB OF GOD and more and whirls it into a pit-worthy stew. The production by Arthur Rizk is top notch, super clear and metallic, reminding me of the great CRO-MAGS album “Best Wishes”. There’s flat-out blazing thrash, slowing crushing breakdowns and a lot of mid-paced chug to loosen the neck muscles. “Witness Hell” starts with a riff that would have any fan of SLAYER’s “Reign In Blood” weeping crimson tears. The strangely named “Nrfd” comes running at you like a battering ram with an awesome quick chug. Elsewhere, “Paradox of Death” and “Urge To Kill” slam with hardcore breakdowns like a mash-up of AGNOSTIC FRONT and HATEBREED. It has to be said that the lead vocals are a kind of constipated shout without a lot of range that definitely come from the hardcore side of things. This is an aspect of PLAGUE YEARS that gets a little monotonous.

This is not a complicated release and that’s it’s greatest strength. This is metal made for pit warriors and walls of death!