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Plague of Stars - When Morning Came

Plague of Stars - CD Review
When Morning Came

When Morning Came



CD Info
Zero Budget Records
English Lyrics

Plague of Stars, a Gothic, Death Metal Band, formed in 2012, and based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has released their debut album. The album, When Morning Came, is an interesting collection of songs with a mixture of styles. Their sound is similar to groups like Tristania and Swallow the Sun and includes some experimentation with vocals as well as the usual instrumentation. A guest vocalist adds a special touch to this album.

Plague of Stars, the collaboration of vocalist Melissa Ferlaak (ex-Aesma Daeva, ex-Visions of Atlantis, MY Eternal) and guitarist Will Maravelas (We are Legion). They wanted to experiment with a darker, more Death/Doom Metal sound and conducted a partially successful crowdsourcing campaign for this album. Originally Christopher Quinn (Aesma Daeva) played bass; however, he was replaced by Timothy Morton (Climatic). The drummer is Aaron Lanik (We are Legion, Figure of Merit). There were several obstacles, both personal and as a group, that were overcome during the making of When Morning Came.

The opening track, “Succumb to the Light,” is all instrumental. It opens with an ethereal synthesized sound and a guitar strumming which then leads to the guitar to the playing a nice little theme that rises and then is followed by a descending note theme. This is all played very softly.

“Succumb to Darkness” is a traditional metal song with the heavy guitar, driving bass and drum parts. Melissa’s voice is clear and shows off her range. In addition, her voice is dubbed so that in parts of the song, she is having a duet with herself. In part of the song, the guitar and vocals perform in unison. In one verse, Melissa is joined by a growling male voice. (VV Arkames (Ad Inferna))?

One song in which the lyrics were co-written by supporter Joseph Prostredny is “Legacy,” a pure metal Doom Metal song in all aspects. “Sense Control” is dedicated to supporter Jack Williams, who likes “heavy, fast, hard music.” The song opens with a driving drum and guitar parts. Interestingly, the vocals are recorded so that you hear them going from one ear to the other. Later the duet part is recorded so that each is on a different side. Before and after the last verse, there is a choral part of “oohs.” Some of the interesting lyrics include:

Some will die so that others may thrive
The “sin” of humanity must revive
Embrace the darkness inherent of souls
Society on then, can be whole

The title song, “When Morning Came,” is a hard driving metal song. The bass and drums keep up a relentless beat throughout the song. There is a very short guitar solo, which adds to the song. Melissa’s vocals are very diverse, whether in duet or alone. She goes back and forth between being lyrical, semi-screaming, to operatic all in this song.

“Lady Lazarus,” based on the Poem by the same name is a song in which Melissa is paying homage to the writer Sylvia Plath. The uniqueness of this song is that the band incorporated Sylvia’s reading of her poem into the song. From the beginning of the song, you have a sense that it is an old gramophone recording of this song. There is a slight delay of Melissa saying the words along with Sylvia. The guitar then plays a repeated motif along with some light drums and cymbals. You can hear the emotion and passion in Melissa’s voice and two-thirds of the way through, with her semi-singing part of the words. The guitar becomes more distorted before a return to the opening sound.

The song “Drown” has a short, instrumental intro, which I am not sure why they didn’t just make it part of the song. The intro starts with a pulsating drum beat which is joined by the bass. Overlapping that later is the distorted guitar until all of them are playing the pulsating beat. Then the song opens with that same beat, and Melissa joining them with “hmms.” The vocals then float along over the heavy instrumental part and seem to tell the story of the Sirens from Greek Mythology. Some lyrics include:

She sings intoxicating drones
On a rock, her beauty exposed.
Silver tongue licks every note
Luring lovers afloat

Drown in your lust
Drown in your greed
Fall on the rocks
Softly while you bleed

My favorite song, even though it is a re-worked cover song, has to be “In the Pines.” Besides being one of the first songs for the album, it catches the tone and emotion equal to the performance by Leadbelly. Lyrically, it is the bleakest song on the album about the South with the lynching and dark times. However, Plague of Stars really captures the essence of the song. After opening with a heavy guitar sound, guest vocalist VV Arkames (Ad Inferna) adds the grovel-like, growling vocal part that tells the story. Melissa’s vocals tell of the darkness that “In the Pines,” which affected too many people. Her voice also has a faraway sound, like it is very painful to recall the time. The song, even though it has the heavy metal sound, includes a slightly blues lilt to it, which is what first brought the song to my attention, when I first listened to it. The disturbing lyrics include:

In the pines
In the pines
Where the sun never shines
I shiver the whole night through

When Morning Came is very unique with a mixture of several different genres and good for a debut album. It was several years in the making and overcoming many different obstacles along the way. In addition, this album is a good choice for those who like to hear a mixture of several different styles. Melissa’s vocals display a variety of skills, including operatic as well as metal. The instrumental performances are solid and like on another of my reviews, there aren’t very many stylized featured instrumental solos. Additional information concerning this band may be found at the following links: