Plague Pit – Topheth Ablaze 

Band: Plague Pit
Title: Topheth Ablaze                                                       
Label: Independent
Release date: 10 January 2019
Country: Ireland
Format reviewed: FLAC

Bodies. With eyes where the fire no longer burns since ages past. Left to die. The putrid smell of rotten flesh, the moans of the dying, their warm stinking breath and the falling apart meat…It is asphyxia, bringing vomit, disgust and it is the plague’s pit as we know it in our darkest nightmares.

…and that smell again…

Ireland’s PLAGUE PIT released their sophomore album “Topheth Ablaze” in the beginning of January, just to start everybody’s year with a mortal dose of that putrid stinking devastation. Topheth has been known as the place in Jerusalem where the worshipers of the ancient religion gave human sacrifices of children, burning them alive in praise to the good Monoch and Baal. So this metaphor of living hell has been strongly incorporated in PLAGUE PIT’s morbid death/black metal and technical performance.

“Topheth Ablaze” will not win you over instantly, but for sure will make a solid impression on you in the beginning. After couple of spins you will be sold over it most definitely. Especially if you love monsters as Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Immolation and the recent Denver wave. This is the main direction which I can give you about the band’s style. However, PLAGUE lives its own thriving life in its PIT. “Topheth Ablaze” is an intense record. The eight compositions twist, turn, swirl, breakdown, explode, blast, distort, crush. 37 minutes of very good death metal – low, with diversity and technical elements.  The vocals are deeply low, and have this old school “echo” effect, but this is not by chance. “Topheth Ablaze” has been mastered in Bello Horizonte, Brazil, and naturally carries that tiny nuance (and some thrashier parts and patterns here and there, so typical for the late 80s DM bands – and by the way I heard a few very Sepulchral Whore-ish parts).

The album lost me mostly on the sound production and the drums sound honestly. The overall sounding simply screams to be denser, more suffocating (take Denver’s best examples). Not that it is not now; it just needs to be heavier for me, and it could have been more massive, better accepted in this respect. Actually, as I hinted already, a lot is going on in PLAGUE PIT’s “Topheth Ablaze” compositions, so the album would have gained a lot in the sense of being more cavernous. Same goes with the drums sound – they are too canny for me and needed to be lower and denser. I’m sure that the band is headed into this direction though, and the lads’ future evil efforts will be executed in this direction. 

“Tophet Ablaze” definitely needs to be checked out by the extreme metal maniacs who are seeking new intriguing bands to explore and enjoy. Yes, there is a big pot out there, and finding is not an easy task. This is why I’m giving you PLAGUE PIT – they might blow your head away, while your morbid wounded flesh and skin are decaying and your left arm picks up your right arm from the ground… 7/10 Count Vlad

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