Released: 2011, Misantrof ANTIRecords
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
There are only two things you need to know about Plaag’s debut album UGH! – 1) It’s available as a free download through Misantrof ANTIRecords’ website, and 2) it’s freaking awesome. Plaag is like a Belgian Darkthrone cover band, except instead of playing Darkthrone songs they play 80’s metal that kind of sound like Darkthrone songs. It’s a unique recipe that plays upon everything you expect from traditional black metal, but totally upends your preconceptions. Sufficed to say, UGH! Is a refreshing platter of the extreme that is worth much more than its admission price.
The brainchild and vehicle of mainman Somber, Plaag covers a lot of typical metal themes while dressed in traditional black metal trappings. “Somber’s Out” looks at the changing medium that the artist has used to create, from paint and canvas to his own “hellrock n’ roll.” “My Satan” challenges what is really evil in this world, while “Christmas Time” takes some expected jabs at a certain Christian religious icon and the bizarre surroundings of the holiday season. “I Hear You Weep” and “Silently Beaten to Death” tackle more sociopolitical fodder, while “Vaderland” is simply an awesome name for a song. I imagine a realm where the mighty Lord Vader reigns supreme smoting Ewoks and Jedis with his dark force powers. It’s actually an instrumental track, but a guy can dream, right?
Back to the music though. UGH! has the context and feel of old school Norwegian black metal, a la early Mayhem, the aforementioned Darkthrone, and Carpathian Forest; all source material that Somber holds in high regard. But the riffs and rhythms within the cold grimness carry AC/DC rock grooves, denim n’ leather thrash, and dark NWOBHM melodies alongside the typical black metal buzz saw crunch. It’s heavy, it’s mean, it’s metal – end of story. But all other descriptive elements aside, there are still only two things you need to know about UGH! It’s free and it’s awesome. Check out Plaag’s website for more info on the band, and go check out Misantrof’s website for your free download of UGH!