At the unholy intersection of guttural suffocation, stomping alpha-wolf brutality, dramatic atmosphere and unrelenting blackened thrash stands WINDS OF PLAGUE. This is the extreme music band for a passionate generation interconnected by the surrealist escapism of cinematic horror, the invigorating catharsis of first person shooter and post-apocalyptic video game narratives, the allure of the occult and the strength of hardcore conviction. A WINDS OF PLAGUE album is the sonic equivalent of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher and John Carpenter making a Hammer Horror style movie together, set inside an insane asylum filled with desert dwelling hillbillies under siege by zombies.
The California counterculture mercenaries built their reputation upon a much-heralded cocktail of symphonic death metal and metalcore with a unique identity steeped in movie-like imagery. The combination of artistry, catchy “death n’ roll” and work ethic saw them invited to participate in every touring festival of relevance to the genre, a near unrivaled list that includes Warped Tour, Rockstar Mayhem and Summer Slaughter.
WINDS OF PLAGUE’s arresting combination of crushingly heavy aggression, sweeping progressive flourishes, dynamic keyboard-driven accents and a subtle yet unstoppably memorable hint of Active Rock bounce put them in an elite class above the noise of the crowded subgenres of metal. WINDS OF PLAGUE is closely aligned with their deathcore contemporaries but lean harder on sinister menace and iron-willed angst than the rest.
“I fear no evil, evil fucking fears me!” declared frontman and cofounder Johnny Plague in “Refined in the Fire,” from WINDS OF PLAGUE’s 2011 metalcore masterpiece, Against the World. It’s demonstrative of the same spirit of resistance and perseverance that’s driven the Upland, California upstarts since the release of their genre classic debut album, Decimate the Weak. It’s a record with a sound many bands continue to chase, further refined by its follow-up, 2009’s The Great Stone War. Following extensive touring in support of 2013’s Resistance, WINDS OF PLAGUE disappeared for a time, only to reemerge renewed, reignited and redefined, signing a new deal with eOne Music / Good Fight Music.
Nearly 15 years into the band’s existence, Plague is joined by longtime drummer Art Cruz (who first came aboard in 2008), new keyboardist Adrienne Cowan (since 2016) and a trio of fresh-faced hooligans who are respectful and knowledgeable of Winds Of Plague’s legacy while simultaneously eager to push the band’s sound and vision forward to new heights today. Guitarist Michael Montoya was first to join forces with Winds Of Plague 2.0, followed by guitarist Davey Oberlin (ex-Dawn Of Ashes) and bassist Justin Bock.
The band’s music often takes adventurous turns toward the symphonic with the epic ambition of black metal’s greats, without ever abandoning their raw hardcore-infused pulse. It’s Winds Of Plague’s attention to detail and keen sense of balance between the elements that drove the videos for “The Impaler,” “Drop the Match,” “Open the Gates of Hell,” “California,” “Refined in the Fire” and “Say Hello to the Undertaker” to accumulate nearly 10 million views on YouTube and several million streams on Spotify.
The list of bands who’ve shared tour posters and laminates with WINDS OF PLAGUE does itself speak volumes of the band’s diversity and ultimate accessibility, cloaked as it may be in an ambitious sound of infamy and extremity: Danzig, As I Lay Dying, Hatebreed, Parkway Drive, Dimmu Borgir, We Came As Romans, Attila, All Shall Perish, Chelsea Grin.
As one of the elite breakout bands in the heavy music scene of the past decade, WINDS OF PLAGUE carry forward the torch reignited by the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, made up of bands like Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying and All That Remains that preceded them (their band name, in fact, was inspired by an Unearth lyric). WINDS OF PLAGUE subverts the formula of each strain of metal that came before them, picking apart the strongest elements of the genre, only to superpower them all over again.
Johnny Plague – Vocals
Adrienne Cowan – Keyboards
Davey Oberlin – Guitar
Michael Montoya – Guitar
Justin Bock – Bass
Art Cruz – Drums