Thinking Plague — Early Plague Years
(Cuneiform Rune 141, 1986/2000, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 2001-03-01
The recent resurgence of Thinking Plague has finally yielded the reissue of their (rare) first two albums (both included on this one CD in their entirety), showcasing the beginnings of one of the more adventurous bands of our era. ...A Thinking Plague and Moonsongs show that Plague’s creative energies and talents were already highly developed, even at this early stage, and with a minimal recording budget, no less. Bassist / drummer / violinist Bob Drake plays a greater role here than on later releases, and his “compositions” make interesting use of drones and sound effects. Guitarist Mike Johnson still handles the bulk of the writing, and his style at this point includes somewhat aggressive tempos (such as “I Do Not Live” from the first album, and “Warheads” from the second) as well as the majestic epics that we’ve come to expect (“Moonsongs”, “The War”). ...A Thinking Plague features vocalist Sharon Bradford, who left shortly after, and who receives a pair of writing credits. Suzanne Lewis sings on Moonsongs, the title track of which is one of her finest recorded moments. Prior to this reissue, I had both of these albums on cassette, and I can vouch for the fact that the remastering that went into this issue have added great depth and dynamics to the sound. While not quite on the level of In This Life or In Extremis (which is a hard order to fill at any rate), these first two albums are a great bargain as a two-fer, and well worth the attention of those interested in more Plague.
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