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“Sect’s 4th LP is about a political plague swept in worldwide under the chaos of a literal & ecological one. Plagues Upon Plagues faces a mournful new reality: the profound loss of lifelong battles in an unraveling civilization.”

Sect have a lot on their minds. With the release of their brand new single, “New Low” and the promise of Plagues Upon Plagues, the follow up full-length to 2019’s Blood of the Beasts, Sect explore the intersection of issues which have cascaded over us for the last five years, the “plagues” of the title referring to the literal pandemic, and the metaphorical plague of the political state and the rise of fascism.

Comprised of an international cast of stellar musicians, who cut their teeth in a formative moment of political, cynical, antagonistic extremes, Sect unites Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, Tooth & Claw) & Jimmy Chang (Undying, Catharsis) – guitars, Steve Hart (Day of Suffering, Mania For Conquest) – bass, Andy Hurley (Fall Out Boy, Racetraitor) – drums and Chris Colohan (Cursed, Unwell) – vocals. They released No Cure For Death in 2017 and Blood of the Beasts in 2019 and now, their latest for Southern Lord titled Plagues Upon Plagues will be released 7th June 2024.

Plagues Upon Plagues opens with the bereft waves of “No Uncertain Terms”, a side of the band we haven’t seen before. Vocalist Chris Colohan describes this album as “a funeral rather than a trial”, the activism of previous releases fading to sorrow and grief. “Our scene has already been screaming about the threat of an ecological breaking point and the looming threat of recurrent fascism throughout our whole lives,” says Chris. “When both come to pass at the same time and you get the exact world you fought never to see, there are no more alarm bells to ring. You’re just burying your dead. It’s mournful.”

Lead single “New Low” follows with the advent of marching drums, a funereal procession for the world we hoped to build. There’s frantic horror on the album too, with the track “Drowning in Sorrows” taking a look at the ways in which we numb ourselves as a society. “#ForeverHome” is a bitterly angry track about how people used animals for both narcissistic virtue signalling and one-way comfort in the pandemic, and abandoned them en masse just as selfishly when social life came back. Speaking to their straight-edge principles and how that continues to feed into their songwriting, Chris says, “the only kind of straight edge songs I’m interested in writing are dynamic ones that address human realities that you don’t have to be straight edge to engage with.”

Chris speaks more specifically about the collective behaviours which he observed society defaulting to in the thick of uncertainty – opportunism, profiteering, denial, accelerationism, sabotage. “The first five weeks of the pandemic told me more about where we’re at and where we’re headed than five decades of life, and it rendered most idealism irrelevant, regardless of how selectively we remember it in retrospect.”

The outlook is bleak, but music helps. “We’re barreling towards the next mass atrocity just as the last century’s fade into the past,” says Chris. “I’ve definitely had to let go of the ideal of survival in the wake of the last few years. Wasn’t the world we wanted to see but with all the checks and balances this thoroughly defeated, it’s going to play out however it does from here. Changing any minds at this point is kind of irrelevant – that’s largely the point of this album and the challenges we had writing it.”

Drums for the album were tracked with engineer Justin Phelps in Portland, OR at The Hallowed Halls. Guitars and bass were tracked at Scott’s home studio and Chris’ vocals were recorded at the old Holy Mountain Printing warehouse in Raleigh, NC – a makeshift vocal booth was set up in an aisle of shirts. Kurt Ballou at God City mixed the record.

On Plagues Upon Plagues, Sect pierce through the veil of complacency, forcing listeners to confront uncomfortable truths about the fragility of our world.  The band wields their sonic arsenal like a prophetic warning and with raw vocals and uncompromising lyrics, they confront the harsh realities of existence in these tumultuous times.  As society teeters on the brink of chaos, Sect’s cold hard statement resonates with an urgency that cannot be ignored.

  1. No Uncertain Terms
  2. New Low
  3. Drowning In Sorrows
  4. Zerzan Wept
  5. Forever Home
  6. The Lovers of Life
  7. Inventory
  8. Six Black Lines

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