Reviews WAR//PLAGUE On A Darker Dawn


On A Darker Dawn

Minneapolis’ scene veterans WAR//PLAGUE have finally released their debut full-length LP On A Darker Dawn on Profane Existence Records. The recipe first displayed on their debut 7” single Smolder b/w Malevolent Winds and subsequent Attrition split LP with Police Bastard continues to evolve, albeit minor—then ‘n’ now comparisons show them veering in slightly different directions while still snarled up in their crust punk roots. The conglomeration of styles and genres is varied enough though that it makes it difficult to put a solid label on them. Sure, in simplest of terms they are crust, but they are also quite a bit more than that too. (I used to call them post-ambient black metal crust-core or something like that. But let’s be honest here, what the hell does “post-ambient” even mean?)

Much of the band’s progression in sound has to do with a new drummer coming aboard for this record. The D-beaten barrage is still aggressive as ever, but there are noticeable tempo shifts and double kick rolls abound, resulting in a fierce convergence of percussion. You need not look any farther than “The Holy Blood” as an example of how good death metal-like pummeling sounds when given the crusty treatment.

It is endearing how much WAR//PLAGUE wear their Minneapolis influences on their sleeves; both literally and figuratively—literally in the form of Misery patches, and figuratively in the form of, well, very Misery-esque tuneage. It’s no secret Misery’s ’89/’90 Born, Fed, Slaughtered 7’’ was an influential crust record the world over, but perhaps it’s impact was not bigger or more lasting that it is in their native Twin Cities. And whether intentional or not WAR//PLAGUE’s album closer “Harvest” is a testament to that.

The vocals on this record are cleaned up to the point where you can actually understand the lyrics, but remain dirty enough that they apprpriately convey the grimness of the subject matter. And there is a peculiar airiness to the mix that lends it a touch of atmospheric ambiance. Then again that might just be the sound of flies buzzing about, presumably ingesting the flesh and feces of rotted corpses. From the album imagery—the cover art features a dark charcoal and oil depiction of flies swarming an earth-cloaked skull—to the lyrical subject matter—like, human burial aiding in the spread of disease and the depletion of Earth’s natural resources, for example—it’s their stringent adherence to topics such as death & decay, entropy and erosion that gives the album a thematically cohesive tone.

While WAR//PLAGUE aren’t attempting put any cracks in the foundation that crust punk was built on, they are at least constructing some really sturdy remodeling on top of it. Overall On A Darker Dawn is as impressive a full-length debut as you can ask for.

8.0 / 10Nathan G. O'Brien
KFAI - Undead
Leave a comment

8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10

Share this content
Related features

One Question Interviews War//Plague

Posted Jan. 19, 2021, 7:47 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Vern (War//Plague-bass) SPB: What type of bass do you play (and how did you choose it)? Vern: I am currently playing a Gibson RD ...

One Question Interviews War//Plague

Posted Jan. 14, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Chad (War//Plague – drums) SPB: Walk us through your kit and how you chose its various pieces? Chad: I've always been a huge fan ...

One Question Interviews War//Plague

Posted Jan. 4, 2021, 5:27 p.m.
What's That Noise?

Andy Lutz (War//Plague-vocals and guitar) SPB: Do you use any special equipment to emphasize your vocals when playing live? Lutz: Generally, I just use ...

KFAI - Root Of All Evil


Temperaments of War EP

7.0 / 10 WAR//PLAGUE -  Temperaments of War EP album cover

Over the course of their last few records these Minneapolis crust punk stalwarts have really honed their metal chops. I’ll do my best to avoid any “who put their metal ...



7.0 / 10 WAR//PLAGUE - Primal album cover
200 Words Or Less

WAR//PLAGUE always come a little different each time out. Primal is their fifth release (and the seventh single in the Profane Existence Single Series) and one that shows the Minneapolis quartet stripping away ...

Related news

Bands 1QI: War//Plague, Big Dick, Sweatshop Boys, Lair of the Minotaur

Posted Oct. 1, 2014, 2:55 p.m.

One of our features here at Scene Point Blank is our semi-daily quickie Q&A: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook or twitter and we'll post one interview ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.