Sound — 9
A Plea For Purging is somewhat small time as far as modern metalcore acts go, but as their newest release The Marriage of Heaven and Hell shows, they are not short on creativity and talent. With this release, they offer up nothing less than dissonant and chaotic metalcore at its finest. Vocalist Andy Atkins offers a gravelly vocal approach that isn't easily comparable to other vocalists. Guitarists Blake Martin and Tyler Wilson offer up infectious riffs left and right. Bassist John Wand adds another layer with his intriguing bass lines, and drummer Aaron Eckermann lays down a furious beat. Track Listing: 01. The Eternal Female: an eerie speech followed by a haunted scream sets the mood right away, lots of low end bends and pinch harmonics with some hard-hitting riffs, lots of breakdowns at end. 02. Sick Silent America: fast-paced and angry, atmospheric interlude at :47 with ominous sound samples and synth, another eerie speech in outro. 03. Shiver: awesome riffing, dramatic key change at 1:50, good backing guitar part at end of the song. 04. Golden Barriers: fade-in to sonic chaos, good riff at :50, likewise with the higher part at 1:00, cool low divebombs in several riffs, dissonant solo at 1:41, good use of audio filter at 2:07, followed by great riff/breakdown. 05. The Fall: plenty of good riffs, noted first use of clean vocals by band to good effect, catchy chorus, another cool audio filter at 1:50, another speech at end, smooth transition to next song... 06. And Weep: starts off with some chugging followed by a disturbing cry of "your God is dead", awesome chorus, permeated by eerie background guitar parts. 07. Trembling Hands: very heavy, good tremolo parts, good use of sliding at 1:10. 08. Finite: fast, dissonant outro, excellent clean chorus, great build to best riff on the album at 2:28, solo vocals at 2:42, one of my favorites. 09. The Jealous Wings: far different than anything else by this band, all clean vocals, quiet and moody, reminds me of a clean Demon Hunter song, fantastic execution for something so experimental. 10. The New Born Wonder: good intro riff, ominous and dark, excellent dynamics, closes the album with a chaotic mixture of speeches, a washed out audio filter, and a creepy message by the voice of a child. I would have to say that this album absolutely blows me away, albeit in a different way than their previous offerings. Older fans of this band will be upset to find that there are few high-flying leads on this album, but they still make this sound their own with flying colors. That being said, while an excellent performance by the band, the producer Joey Sturgis engineered and produced this album beautifully because this album stands out in its dynamicism and backing innovation as well.
Lyrics — 8
I give these guys a big kudos on the lyrics on this album as well. A lot of Christian bands' lyrics are very formulaic, Sunday church sermon material, but these guys take a dark, introspective look into the deep problems surrounding the Christian church. Most of the songs are directed at corrupt churches and how religion is used as a money-making scheme and a tool. This gives the album a very dark, bleak outlook, but it is probably stuff that needs to be said. Rather, they tell you not to trust in the words of powerful men and search for the truth yourself. The vocals are well delivered and powerful. Andy's voice complements the chaotic mood of the instrumentals and blends well. On top of that, the new addition of clean vocals by Blake Martin work out stunningly in their given contexts and give the listener a melodic reprieve from the dissonance.
Overall Impression — 9
All in all, I am overwhelmingly impressed with this band's grasp of themselves and their own sound. The Eternal Female, Finite, and The Jealous Wings, are absolutely thrilling songs to me, but this album is best enjoyed as a whole. I love the heaviness, production quality, and subject nature, although I do think that their could be some more high guitar parts and tasty solos in the mix, but their exclusion can be forgiven. If you like Norma Jean these guys would probably strike a chord with you. I would absolutely buy this again if stolen. I just hope that this album drives them further down a successful and long-lasting path in the music industry. Pick it up.