Sound — 10
I have to start off by saying this album has fantastic production quality, producer Joey Sturgis at his best! The production doesn't sound too raw, but at the same time it's not overproduced. The guitar and bass tones are extremely heavy (as are the breakdowns), and the drums have just the right amount of reverb. All the songs blend into each other, making the album seem more whole as opposed to a random mess of songs just thrown onto a CD.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on "Plagues" are very poetic and thought-provoking. However, this makes them somewhat difficult for the average listener to understand. But the listener can use this to their advantage by interpreting their own meaning, even multiple meanings, for each song. The lyrics fit well with the music, as both the music and the lyrics are dark and poetic. Mike Hranica also masters the art of screaming, combining ear-piercing highs with lows so brutal they could knock a wild bull out cold. Clean singer Jeremy DePoyster also balances out the brutality with his seductive melodies, giving you the feeling you've been ensnared in a wonderful dream.
Overall Impression — 10
Whether you've been a fan of metalcore for as long as you can remember or if you're just starting to get into the genre, "Plagues" is a must-have album. As the first heavy album I ever had the pleasure of listening to, it sets the standard for any metalcore album and will always stand strong as my number one favourite. Unlike many of today's metalcore albums, the breakdowns really stand out and the screams are far from generic (in fact, they are exceptional). But perhaps the greatest thing about this album that separates it from any other in the genre is its sheer sense of unpredictability. You never know what's going to happen next, giving you a feeling of euphoria and anticipation the whole way through. All the songs are unique in their own way, but my personal favorites are "Goats On A Boat", "Hey John, What's Your Name Again?", and "Reptar, King Of The Ozone".