March 2019 saw Calgary Alberta Canada Hardcore quartet Plead release their debut EP “Hexed” and less than 12 months later drummer Layne Frank, bassist Tyler Beninger, guitarist John Hayes and vocalist Marcus Marino have returned with their sophomore effort “Expired Blood“. Interestingly all of the songs were written and recorded on the traditional territories of Indigenous Treaty 7 and Metis Nation (regional 3) lands while they once again teamed up with Michael Williams who co-produced and mixed the EP having mixed and mastered the previous one, while getting Stuart McKillop in to handling the mixing this time out.
Five songs, twelve minutes is what you get from Plead on “Expired Blood” with “Culled” offering some 90s Hardcore influenced aesthetics that the likes of Earth Crisis would be more than happy to call their own. Raw edged mid-tempo fury with venom filled vocals are the order of the day with at track that could happily go on another minute or two but cuts dramatically short, turning on the house lights as the audience are getting their two step on. “Expired Blood” has some genre familiar riffs in a powerhouse guitar tone while Marino barks like a Pit Bull on a leash that can sent blood. Some staccato parts allow for lead bits in between them which cut the dense, dark and brooding atmosphere like a knife. Mid EP cut “Dissociation” is brought in by the voice of Sam Neill as the possessed Dr. William Weir in the 1997 movie Event Horizon which makes way for some crushing mid tempo Hardcore grooves. If you took Knocked Loose and slowed them down to downtempo speed then you’d have what you have here as pounding rhythm after pounding rhythm impacts on your skull with guitar squeals a plenty. Single “Gag Order” tempo shifts up into a rager with Frank producing a whirlwind of big drum fills and Hayes giving us some instantly headbangable riffs in what is the stand out moment of the EP. Socially and historically aware, it’s a middle finger to the injustices of the native Americans who have suffered and been silenced since the crimes against them were committed. “Ditch Pig” is the longest cut at just 162 seconds and blends a low and slow bass line from Beninger with some punchy staccato riffs broken by quirky lead moments and more powerhouse jackhammer footwork. A step up from “Hexed“, “Expired Blood” has some real killer moments and as a concept release has plenty of thought provoking lyrics that give you something to think about once the music has finished playing out [7/10]
“Expired Blood” by Plead is out now and available over at bandcamp