Album Review: Plague Vendor – 'By Night'
Plague Vendor are back!
Not only are so many new great guitar bands coming out of the woodwork at the moment, great guitar bands that have been around for the last five or ten years are returning with new material. Plague Vendor is one of them. By Night is the follow up to 2016’s Bloodsweat. And it’s fantastic.
Brandon Blaine sings and snarls through the microphone like the lovechild of Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop. The rest of the band – Michael Perez (bass), Luke Perine (drums), Jay Rogers (guitar) – play driving riffs built around simple beats and pumping bass riffs, much like Viagra Boys. But it’s got a heavy groove to it with guitar riffs that is similar to Queens of the Stone Age’s best material. You can hear all of this from the opening track ‘New Comedown’. Its bass riff is very Viagra Boys and it has a big, heavy, classic rock n’ roll chorus. And the piano in the background is very similar to ‘Go with the Flow’.
The opening track sets you up for what’s to come – just pure energetic rock n’ roll. But Plague Vendor keep things interesting throughout By Night. For instance, there’s a flange-effected drum beat in the middle of ‘Nothing’s Wrong’. it also makes great use in dynamics, from stripped back hooks to a screaming and heavy-as-fuck chorus. ‘All of the Above’ is as catchy as they come, and this track gives a big nod towards Viagra Boys, intentional or not, with the emphasis on the bass guitar, the popping sound effects and dance beat drums holding it all together. ‘Prism’ is built around short and funky riffs – perfect for losing your shit to. ‘Snakeskin Boots’ is similar as Blaine channels his inner Jim Morrison and barks “Hot damn”. ‘Night Sweats’ is for the most part a cool classic-sounding rock n’ roll banger, but it ends with an almost post-punk inspired intense outro, featuring a high tremelo-picked guitar lead and crashing drums.
Other tracks also have a modern post-punk vibe about them, similar to Crows early songs. You can hear this in ‘Let Me Get High’ and ‘Pain in My Heart’, especially in the guitar lines, booming drums and Blaine’s vocal delivery. ‘In My Pocket’ is a little different too. The bass is fuzzy, giving the song an almost industrial quality to it.
Plague Vendor are excellent and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s happy they have returned with not only a great album, but just a perfect album – 10 songs of no nonsense rock n’ roll.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst