Evil times call for salvation in the form of brute force music seething with undeniable power. Circle of Darkness by Plague Years is that deliverance.
The year 2020 will be remembered for a menacing plague ripping into the world to unleash misery and death. What better way to laugh in the face of annihilation than to blast the demonic thrashing metal of Plague Years. Their sophomore album Circle of Darkness should be played at maximum volume until the walls run red.
For those new to the Detroit quartet, Plague Years are Eric Lauder (guitar), Tim Engelhart (vocals), Rian Staber (bass), and Mike Jurysta (drums). Circle of Darkness is available on eOne Heavy records. Arthur Rizk handled the recording. The devastatingly diabolical artwork is by the legendary Joe Petagno.
The album opens with what sounds like helicopter rotors, the crackling lick of flames, and the distant murmurs of the damned. Burly guitars set to pummeling drums give way to the onslaught that is “Play The Victim.” Mike Jurysta is brilliant and crushing as his drums run hard with the thrashing guitars of Eric Lauder and Rian Staber.
The furious assault continues with “Witness Hell.” This song tears into the heart of darkness. Frenzied guitars, bass, and drums relentlessly incite mayhem. Tim Engelhart roars with malevolence as he describes psychotic deeds of the flesh.
Every song on Circle of Darkness is ferocious. What gives this album strength are the virulent riffs. The songwriting by Plague Years is on par with Slayer’s Seasons In The Abyss or Lamb of God’s As The Palaces Burn. They radiate with crushing intensity and the threat of violence.
Take for example the song “Urge To Kill.” The bone splintering heaviness is glorious. The roar of “Killllllll” that shreds into a raving scream captures the feeling of unrestrained and terrible vengeance. Play this song loud and let its scorching intensity cleanse you.
The overall production of the album is satisfying and heavy. The guitars are meaty, drums are punchy, and vocals are upfront without overwhelming the mix. We’re suckers for a punchy bass and sadly you don’t get a full articulation. However, that is more a matter of taste than a fault in the recording.
Circle of Darkness by Plague Years is terrifying, ruthless, and a perfect metal album. This album is a 21st century coalescence of smash-mouth hardcore and frenzied thrash. Fans of thrash, death, and hardcore will revel in the monstrous energy of this music.