A Plea for Purging’s 2011 release The Life and Death of a Plea for Purging is an interesting, fitting, and at times, surprisingly thoughtful cap to the band’s discography – and one unlike any of their previous releases.
It’s the death letter from a band that was more ready for life after the road than any other band I’ve known of in the small but fiercely loyal “Christian independent metalcore” scene. Consider that two of the tracks (“Music City” and “‘Living the Dream’”) are the closest thing to a polite but audible middle finger.
On “Music City,” the artist formerly known as Dozer writes:“Every single tour takes me kicking and screaming thirty hours from home.” And on “‘Living the Dream,’” he pens:
Is this the life I chose?
Have I chosen poorly or has it chosen me?
Will it let me go now?
With action comes reaction.
We’re all a slave to something.
Dreams aren’t meant to be lonely.
Will You answer me?
Is this heaven or hell?
Is this “living the dream” or is it a living nightmare?
If that’s not an ode to the road, I don’t know what is. I’m sure playing to literally tens of people every night contributed to those questions.
To be fair, Life and Death is a hardcore band’s album that contains a solo singer-songwriter’s EP within its 14 tracks. Which is pretty innovative, in a way. Five of the album’s tracks are vocalized by Plea’s guitarist Ryan Blake Martin, who also released a 5-track EP last year called Fragile (not to be confused with the Nine Inch Nails record of the same name).
“Miss Fortune,” “Skin & Bones,” “Hell at Our Backs,” closer “The Setting Sun” and the best of the stripped down songs, “Hands & Feet” all stand in stark contrast to the rest of Life and Death abrasive, controlled chaos. They are unlike almost all of the rest of Plea’s catalogue, but they’re not without precedent, as the band experimented with clean vocal songs on their 2010 album The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The best of those songs, “The Jealous Wings” would no doubt fit right in here.
I like the concept, and it works because of the band’s “piss off” b-boy stance on their way out. Not sure if other bands could pull off the concept. Thankfully, Plea also can still write a mean metalcore song even without John Wand’s beard:
For me, the highlight of the heavy songs is the rhythmically complicated “Room for the Dead” – mostly for the line: “There’s a battle for my soul, between God, the Devil, and rock’n’roll.” Raw, though I’m sure some will see it as cheesy.
I’m sad to see Plea go if only for this video, but no album from any band I’ve ever listened to has sounded more like “ready to embark on normalcy” than this one.
From their final opus, this is A Plea For Purging’s “The Death” –
Standout tracks: “Music City” and “Room for the Dead” and “‘Living the Dream’”
Weakest track: The beginning portion of “Words Misread” sounds like a formulaic Demon Hunter song, aka, no thanks. Thankfully it gets better after that. The rest is an enjoyable listen.
RIYL: Hardcore, metalcore, metal, Jesuscore. Impending Doom, For Today, Hundredth, Brian Welch. Got some KoRn tone in there, nah’mean kid?