Review: A Plea for Purging – A Critique of Mind and Thought

Label: Facedown Records

Released: October 2, 2007

Twenty years or so ago, most hardcore bands relied on raw aggression rather than technical prowess to drive their point home. Over the intervening years however, likely under the influence of metal as much as anything, many hardcore bands developed more and more chops. The result has been a mixed blessing, with some bands pulling it off and others failing dismally, but no one has upped the technical ante like A Plea for Purging does on A Critique of Mind and Thought.

From the start, there is little question that the album will be brutal. Wailing guitars, bludgeoning rhythms and growling vocals make it clear that this is not to be taken lightly. However, all elements throw themselves into the mix without direction and the result has no sense of cohesiveness or structure.

A Plea for Purging are trying to merge the musicianship of prog-metal with the raw energy of hardcore. It seems like a noble effort, but never comes together. Andrew Atkins is not a particularly gifted singer (or growler rather), but he throws everything he’s got into each song. The dual guitar approach from Blake Martin and Lyle Paschal on the other hand sounds like it was recorded for an instructional video. The transitions between the Maiden-esque guitar passages and the hardcore substance of the songs is often clumsy, adding to the troubles.

Occasionally, especially over the second half of the album, they do manage to bring the pieces together into a singular vision, where the riffing is scaled back and the songs don’t seem so forced and awkward. These are the moments that offer hope that A Plea For Purging’s vision of super-technical hardcore can be a reality. At this point though, there isn’t enough tangible evidence that they already have the answers.

Rating: 5/10


About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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