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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A Plea for Purging -- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell


Not since golden-age Zao has a "Christian" metal band held the Christian church as accountable as a Plea for Purging do on their bludgeoning 2010 release, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
I admittedly grew up in a prosperity theology-centered cult, so I have quite an intimate knowledge of the institutions called out here--and honestly, I am being too general when I say "the Christian church." The Marriage of Heaven and Hell focuses its ire on prosperity gospel preachers who steal from their congregations on the false pretense that if those congregants give all their money to the preacher, God will reward them with Earthly blessings--namely, more money.  Evil, wicked men have been twisting the truth since it existed, so this isn't anything new--but this insidious false doctrine has creeped more and more into mainstream theology in recent decades.
A Plea for Purging aren't having it, and their Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a musically and lyrically brutal blast against prosperity theology, utilizing down-tuned riffs, crushing drums, and throat-blasting vocals. This style of heavy music came into vogue in the early 10's, but A Plea for Purging master that sound well-ahead of the crowd, and the pure, unadulterated anger behind the music keeps it fresh seven years later.
A few key touches also give this album its unique feel, including a genuinely scary vibe generated by created samples of fiery prosperity minister sermons, and freaky guitar drones. However, the most unexpected hero of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is melody. The band wait until track five, "The Fall," to employ sung vocals (as opposed to the screamed vocals found throughout), but when they suddenly hit, they're like another angle of the conversation that is cutting in at just the right time. From that point on, they occur fairly regularly, but always feel necessary exactly when they happen. Track nine, "Jealous Wings," even relies on them completely.
Overall, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is a terrifying record, the voice of judgement that rings out seconds before the apocalypse. The last ten seconds still send shivers down my spine (If there's something you hear right before demons rip off your skin, it's the last ten seconds of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell). Sadly, its message is still just as relevant seven years later, if not more so.
Also, this video is still the best.

2010 Facedown Records
1. The Eternal Female 3:31
2. Sick Silent America 4:43
3. Shiver 2:55
4. Golden Barriers 3:37
5. The Fall 3:45
6. And Weep (featuring Nate Click) 3:45
7. Trembling Hands 3:44
8. Finite 4:13
9. The Jealous Wings 4:16
10. The New Born Wonder 5:01

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