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JFH Indie Review

JFH Indie Music Spotlight Review

Plead the Widow's Cause

Plead the Widow's Cause
Pain Split

Album length: 8 tracks: 24 minutes, 45 seconds
Style: Post-Hardcore / Punk
Street Date: February 18, 2022

"Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." - Isaiah 1:16-17

It's easy to get excited about the old faithfuls. 2022 boasted new albums from Kings Kaleidoscope, Norma Jean, and Becoming the Archetype, while 2023 is making some hefty promises. But it's a different sensation when an unfamiliar name drops in unexpectedly and steals the show. Exhibit A is the New Jersey-based hardcore/punk band Plead the Widow's Cause. Their debut album Pain Split (yes, it's a Pokemon reference) released in February of this year, and it's proven to have some real staying power.

Plead's sound is nothing short of refreshing. While there's a lot of paint-by-numbers metalcore out there, Plead instead blends post-hardcore, punk, and some of that classic Spirit-filled hardcore of yesteryear. Throughout the incredible eight-song journey, one can hear influence from artists ranging anywhere from Strongarm to Brave Days to idle threat. It's fast-paced, in-your-face, and heavy, but it's also melodic and even has some catchy choruses. "Diet Koresh" and "Meant To Lose" are perfect examples; the choruses of those two songs in particular tend to pop up in my memory banks from time to time. But each song is terrific - "all killer, no filler," as they say. It's an album that grabs my attention from the opening riffs and doesn't let go until it's done and over.

The aforementioned verses from the book of Isaiah are not only the source of the band's name, but also its ethos. Much like American Arson's The King Is Alive, Plead focuses a lot on true justice and action. "Disrespect For A Voice Unheard" starts the album and wastes no time getting right to the point, addressing the tragedy of people around the world that are undervalued by society, as well as actions speaking louder than words. One of my favorite lines of the whole album comes from this song: "Lip service is just spit in the wind / don't think you're making a difference when all you do is pretend / and pick and choose the ones you care." "Diet Koresh" is a bit more unique, in that it comes from the perspective of a cult leader in the midst of using God to lead a congregation of lost souls away from truth and into a false religion. But more than pointing the finger, the band mostly takes aim at themselves, humbling down and admitting to their faults and failures. "I'm Afraid of Final Goodbyes," "Drug of Choice," "Meant To Lose" - all great examples of removing the plank from our own eyes first. But perhaps my favorite example is in the title track, which primarily emphasizes how loving earthly and temporal things more than God not only distracts us from the truth ("Fully blind with both eyes open wide / from Your voice I'll try to hide / You're not beautiful to me anymore"), but keep us from entering eternity with everlasting life. The song ends victoriously, though: "I'll enter in with one eye / but with a heart that's new / I'll enter in with one hand / hack it off and let me / let me get to You."

Once again, Plead the Widow's Cause is an absolutely refreshing addition to not only the heavy music scene, but to my album collection and life. It's not often that a debut album blows me away, but Pain Split does exactly that. I've spent more time with it than just about any other album in 2022, and it hasn't failed me yet. If you haven't yet heard of them, this is your call to go and stream it, buy it on Bandcamp, pick up a CD and/or shirt, etc. If this album is already familiar to you, you're probably already doing all of the above. Easy album of the year for me.

- Review date: 12/12/22, written by Scott Fryberger of

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. Record Label: None
. Album length: 8 tracks: 24 minutes, 45 seconds
. Street Date: February 18, 2022
. Buy It: Bandcamp (Digital / CD)

  1. Disrespect For A Voice Unheard (3:26)
  2. Pain Split (2:24)
  3. I'm Afraid of Final Goodbyes (2:36)
  4. Spirits Away (2:00)
  5. Diet Koresh (3:27)
  6. Drug of Choice (4:02)
  7. Meant To Lose (3:15)
  8. True Love (3:31)




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