Every Tuesday I wake up early and got some breakfast with a group of friends of mine at the venerable Kirby Lane Cafe in Central Austin; since it's Taco Tuesday at my new job, I've stopped eating breakfast at Kirby Lane in favor of eating a thousand breakfast tacos purchased by my bosses. This situation leads me every Tuesday into the uncomfortable realm of what I refer to as "the too-much-coffee effect," wherein I drink about a gallon of coffee and subject myself to the horrible aftereffects of diuretic overconsumption, namely several horrible-smelling bowel movements that suck up most of my morning. Since this is becoming a Tuesday ritual for me, I decided that today would be a good day to post my inaugural edition of "Gay or Not Gay?*" where I explore the music of bands that people generally seem to hate (or at least on the avenues that I frequent) and dare to ask the question, "Is it actually horrible music, or are people trumping up a band's collective crappiness to reflect the musical times in which the tr00est and most kvlt of us exist?" By special request, this first edition will focus on the music of Winds of Plague.
Winds of Plague are generally lauded as the worst that the once-lauded genre of metalcore has to offer; I've literally never seen Winds of Plague get any good press, so obviously I've never really listened to them for fear of growing and vestigial vagina or becoming brain-damaged to the point that I take up hardcore dancing and skinny jeans. With the lingering memory of my most recent bodily evacuation in mind, I sit here before you, dear reader, and admit that I am currently engaged in listening to tracks posted on Winds of Plague's Myspace (when are they finally going to take Myspace out behind the barn and blow its brains out, by the way?). What I'm hearing is...well...
Considering that I treat my body as a playground/dumpster for all of the most disgusting and poisonous consumables, I'm honestly surprised how little terrible music (at least to my sensibilities) I listen to anymore. It's been a long time since I moved past the idea that symphonic metal (power, black, et al) is in any way acceptable, and even longer since I found the breakdown a vital part of any viable musical composition. Winds of Plague exhibit both of these traits in spades, which takes me back to the days of yore when As I Lay Dying and Stratovarius were in heavy rotation (maybe I shouldn't have outed myself like that...) and irony was funny and not an irritating, overwrought lifestyle choice. I might have loved Winds of Plague in my formative years; their accessible (read: boring) riffing colored heavily with keyboard choruses singing "ahhh ahhhh"'s and basses dropping like my pants after 8 cups of coffee.
Now, to address the original question: Gay or Not Gay*? Answer: Pretty gay, but not as bad as many metal news outlets would lead one to believe. Allow me to explain, since I feel like this post is increasingly proving to you, fair reader, that I am irreparably False and Ungrim. It's not really that Winds of Plague are terrible at what they do, it's more that what they do has been done much, much better. There are some pretty tasty sweep-picking riffs on songs like "Angels of Debauchery," *cringing at that title*, which leads into a softer dynamic passage and epic lead passage that would be at home in any song written by Luca Turilli or Timo Tolkki (I'm not going to look up spelling for either of those names). The song then descends into a passage that my old band would have been particularly proud of, which is a terrible, terrible thing. The song "Reloaded," likewise begins with a laughable Ion Dissonance-style "talk-scream" salvo, followed by a riff that's okay from a distance, the way that girl walking down the street is kind of hot until you get a good look at her moustache and pants-bulge visible from twenty paces. Their intentions are respectable-ish, but they fall back on outdated cliches of the genre while eschewing aspects like "good song structure."
When I accidentally clicked on the first song on Winds of Plague's Myspace player, it brought up a menu of "Songs Similar to 'Chest and Horns'," which displayed in the number three spot a song by The Devil Wears Prada. This is a telling harbinger of severe mediocrity against Winds of Plague, since The Devil Wears Prada likewise appeals solely to twelve-year-olds and other people with poor taste in music. That Winds of Plague manage to do certain passages very correctly is a surprise; however, if they were to pare down their music only to their good riffs, their discography might indeed contain two or three very short songs.
The verdict: They are no Chiodos, but Winds of Plague by and large meet the hype of being lame and uninteresting. If you'd like something else that is Winds of Plague-related to offset the music you may have just subjected yourself to (like I did), go to Metalsucks and observe their former keyboard player's totally righteous hooters in all their glory. I don't need to tell you it's NSFW, right?
*The term "Gay or Not Gay?" is not a libelous statement against homosexuals. It is a colloquial term that describes something that is sub-par, unfortunate, or generally annoying. So please don't be gay by denouncing my use of the word.