Haiduk - Plagueswept
Self Release
8 songs (29:57)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Charles
Thanks to Haiduk mastermind Luka Milojica for sending this all the way across the Atlantic. Given that Plagueswept is the demo of a one man project this is obviously extremely raw and rough around the edges. I don’t feel it really sounds like a complete project yet- more like some quality ideas waiting to be turned into something immense. But some of the songwriting here is genuinely striking; not just of good quality but also really distinctive at times.

A google search reveals that Milojica cites Burzum as his key influence, and for sure, the unsullied, unadorned second wave black metal tremolo of that project’s earlier output in particular is a heavy presence. Archetypal guitar buzzing is way to the fore with vocals and drumming being very much secondary on tunes such as the opener, Grom. This track also makes use of otherworldly electronic interludes and gently pulsating drum programming to produce a sense of spacey disorientation that admittedly won’t be to everybody’s taste, but which again brings the feel of Vikernes’s ambient work rushing back. And throughout the album, you will also find plenty of remnants of the legacy of those spidery and imposing slow riffs that infested works like Det Som Engang Var.

Thankfully, though, there’s a bit more going on than this, and it really isn’t pure black metal at all once you get further in. Thrash, death and even groovier influences are equally as important, and it is often these that form Plagueswept’s best moments. Dark Forest Path begins with a flurry of energetic, angular lead guitar riffing (a Haiduk trademark), before flicking seamlessly into a shamelessly headbanging midtempo stomp. Siege has more of an early 1990s death metal feel about it than anything else, with strident, grindingly scuzzy riffs sounding like something off a vintage Earache release.

Perhaps where the limitations show through would be on a tune like Subterrenean. The riffing here seems to really want to swing with the rock and roll energy of Venom, but because of the low-budget production and electronic drums, it never really manages to.

A little harsh to attack it on that front, though. This is clearly a work in progress, but I think it deserves the interest of anyone interested in discovering potential new talents in the extreme metal field.

Killing Songs :
Grom, Dark Forest Path , Siege
Charles quoted 73 / 100
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