For those who have not yet listened to the local hipster whisper gossip train, Plague of Tyranny is a megaband composed of Paul Speckmann (Master), Alex Bouks (Goreaphobia), Jim Roe (Incantation), and Chuck Sherwood (Incantation).
Not surprisingly, however, it sounds like a Speckmann project specifically from the latter half of his career, when technical playing forced his songs into a rigid uptempo form:
This follows on the heels of Bouks releasing his post-metal cum alt-rock hybrid, Shadows:
In my view, this shows metal separating out into its parent rock and its own self. Metal is not like rock; the guitars lead, not the vocals, and therefore, composition involves telling a story through riffs. Speckmann came from the Black Sabbath generation that still had a foot in both worlds.
Consequently, metal albums can take one of two paths. Seasons in the Abyss for example basically transitioned to vocal-driven, and most Speckmann albums are this way despite interesting riffs and oddly specialized song structures.
In Shadows, Bouks formalizes this by bringing post-metal back to its actual roots, namely those days of shoegaze and alt-rock when musicians decided to make music based on vague impressions instead of clear, bounding themes and choruses like 1980s pop.
With Plague of Tyranny, these musicians discover a crossroads. How important are vocals and lyrics, anyway? And does the song follow a riff-based structure, or do riffs become pentatonic jingles that fit around the vocals driving the song forward like a sea shanty or gebrauchsmusik ditty?
Perhaps this band will resolve those issues in the future, or maybe this is their final form. In either case, we see two worlds combine, the punk-influenced proto-death metal of Master and the later, more riff-driven and structuralist death metal of Incantation, both contrasted by the fuzzy rock of Shadows.