RIYLThe Acacia Strain
All Shall Perish
Tracklist1. The Eternal Female
2. Sick Silent America
4. Golden Barriers
5. The Fall
6. And Weep
7. Trembling Hands
9. The Jealous Wings
10. The New Born Wonder
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A Plea for Purging turned some heads with their last full length, Depravity, and despite being derivative, the album showed promise and was step in the right direction for the young band. Two years later, the quintet has released The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, another theme-laden grouping of songs that raises the bar from the group’s past accomplishments.
This album is a monster, not necessarily in content but in shear sound. Every song pummels you with down-tuned, rhythmic riffs layered with eerie melodies and virulent vocals. It’s clear A Plea for Purging has grown up since Depravity; these songs are well written with loose structures that keep the tracks flowing but there’s enough differentiation to keep them from becoming stale. Additionally, on Depravity the band really focused on breakdowns, perhaps too much; however, this time around, overall heaviness is the focal point. That’s not to say there are fewer breakdowns, there are just as many, if not more, but they make sense in the context of the songs to the point where you don’t even really notice that the music has transitioned into a breakdown - it feels natural.
Moreover, the band does a great job of portraying a dreary tone on The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; this feels like a full, cohesive album, which is a noteworthy feat for any band. The drab atmosphere painted by A Plea for Purging becomes apparent as the album progresses and “Sick Silent America” really helps to drive that home. A couple of times in the song the music stops, leaving only a dark guitar melody and gut-wrenching screams in the background, which creates an unsettling feeling that is augmented when the music kicks in again. There are many other moments like that one throughout the album, such as the end of “Shiver” and the beginning of “The New Born Wonder,” and although these parts are brief, they’re effective nonetheless.
Besides improving upon past processes, A Plea for Purging also added a new element to their music: clean singing. The first instance of it doesn’t appear until five songs into the album on “The Fall” and the melodic vocals provide some much needed relief from the rest of the music. The singing reappears a few other times on the album and then is fully unleashed on “The Jealous Wings,” which is an entirely sung track reminiscent of Alice in Chains. Many times, adding clean singing can alienate fans but it’s done tastefully here so it should be a welcome addition.
The main downside to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is that the heaviness can be overbearing at times so the band would have benefited from adding some more songs like “The Jealous Wings” or even an instrumental. Despite that drawback though, A Plea for Purging has crafted a likeable effort that will appeal to fans of heavy, dreary metalcore. With noticeable improvements on every album so far, it’ll be interesting to see what these guys have to offer next time around, but at least we have this release to enjoy in the meantime.