Review by Felix on November 14, 2023.
Black metal has an almost unique selling point. It can be somewhat flawed and perfect at the same time. For example, the sound of Plaga’s EP from 2011 is definitely inferior. It lacks power and especially the snare sounds hollow and feeble. But this is just the objective description. If I put the focus on the atmosphere that this recording creates, I must say that it embodies the spirit of the genre immaculately. It reflects pain, human abysses and absolute despair. The same goes for the vocals which cover a relatively broad range. They commute between typical nagging and dungeon synth compatible, raven-esque shrieks. And again: I do not think that we can call the man at the microphone a formidable singer in objective terms, but he has a feeling for the essence of blackness and he is able to express it. Unfortunately, this is no matter of course in the darkest genre of metal.
Apart from the vocal performance, Plaga also demonstrate a fine instinct for genre-adequate melodies. They never forget to convey a tragic, numinous or simply evil momentum, a vibration that draws you more and more into the material. Plaga’s black metal is not about exploring the extremes of musical violence, but the band’s intention is to unite the spirit of the genre with its compositions. That’s probably the better impulse, especially in view of the fact that the band manages this approach in a very convincing manner. I do not know many black metal units that are more successful in presenting expressive melodies in a sick, almost psychopathic surrounding. Okay, maybe the band is not immune against too many repetitions, but they are clever enough to bring the title track to an end before it gets boring. And, by the way, all of the three songs have a very resilient substance. Nobody needs to fear 21 minutes without relevant content.
Despite the quite personal overall impression, it is just logical that Plage were not spawned in a vacuum. Thus, some influences from the Northern role models are more or less obvious. And why not? The classic albums (you know their famous names) of Mayhem, Immortal, Emperor, Darkthrone or Burzum have defined a genre whose fascination is unbroken. It’s a sonic sanctuary for all musically black souls and Plaga’s music leaves no doubt that these guys can rely on their authenticity. Therefore I understand each and every maniac who kisses every letter when they mention the band name: P-L-A-G-A.
(This review is dedicated to a great black metal insider in Koceljeva near Belgrade.)
Rating: 8.5 out of 10300