"The Human, The Canvass" By Society's Plague (Lexington, KY)/Metalcore/Released 2010
Metalcore has been the dominant commercial force in metal for the the past decade. Like nu-metal before it, the style has served as a gateway for many to the metal world and has allowed the genre to flirt with the mainstream. With that level of success however comes copycats. Metalcore, despite its deep pool of talented and influential bands, has gotten watered down by less inspired, formula reliant acts. However, there are still jewels to be found in the genre and Kentucky’s Society’s Plague is one of those jewels.
Formed in 2006, Society’s Plague has been building a strong following for the past decade. They released their debut EP “The Mercy Untold” in 2009 and later followed with their first full length “The Human, The Canvass” in 2010. Thanks to their energetic live shows and well produced studio releases they’ve managed to share the stage with big names such as Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil, and Mushroomhead among others.
SP’s sound is a blend that makes use of metalcore’s harsh/clean vocal balance, melodic death metal’s twin guitar harmonies and riffs, and a twist of symphonic elements alike to We Came As Romans and In Flames. Front man Matt Newton is a capable vocalist with dynamic, intelligible screams and solid clean vocals. Despite Newton having a voice in the tenor range it lacks the whiny tone that mars a lot of modern metalcore acts. Drummer James Doyle is a stand out instrumentalist on the record with his swift, energetic percussion being a driving force behind each song.
The twelve track album has many highlights and starts off strong with the blistering “Transcend the Throne”. A fast paced track that comes right out the gates with pounding double bass and screams accompanied by choral synths adding to the epic feel of the song. These elements topped off with an anthemic chorus makes the track a strong album favorite. The album’s title track is another well written song that has a more common metalcore feel. Motivational lyrics about leaving behind doubt and rising above normalcy along with a distinct synth solo mid song are highlights of this track. “A Better View On A Bitter World” is a headbanger that makes use of chugging riffs and alternating scream and sung vocals in the chorus as well as a sparingly used breakdown mid song. “The Few The Fallen” is a more driving track that leans more on the melodic metal side with its balance of keys and chuggy guitars along with another great use of an anthem chorus. “Mourning Sun”, the album closer, is the most melodic song of the album with predominately clean vocals used. The track is still a loud heavy banger however and show cases the band’s talent for mixing their heavy instrumentation with melodic keys and writing.
“The Human, The Canvass” is a strong debut album for Society’s Plague that can rival the work of their more recognizable peers in the genre with their mix of classic and modern style metal riffs, accessible songwriting, and experimentation with keys and synths. It’s a record with obvious passion behind it and despite being a half decade old can still stand with the newer metal releases of today. Fresh off of a three year hiatus the band is looking to continue making waves and keep writing with “The Human, The Canvass” being only a small taste of what the future holds.