(Earlier this month TheMadIsraeli finished a review of the entire discography of seminal Dutch death metal band Pestilence prior to their newest work. And now he fills that gap as well.)
“Grotesque” is the word when describing Obsideo. Its bloody, puss-dripping, rotted-flesh, hulking frame can be seen coming from miles away with the last gasps of a human life that open the record. Pestilence have been vicious, feral, filthy even, but never have they sounded more obsessed, fetishized, and depraved than on this record. When it’s done turning your body into a sandbag of shattered bone fragments, it drowns you in its putrid excrement afterward without mercy.
This is the kind of shit Pestilence have always done well, and this particular turn of sound has produced the band’s heaviest record since Consuming Impulse. The thing that really makes this record is just how fucking carnivorous its assault is. Everything sounds eager for blood, eager to destroy, eager to desecrate. I don’t know whether it’s the dank tone of the eight-string guitars this time around, the deeper, more feral nature of Mameli’s vocals, David Haley’s tribal blunt-force drum performance, which sounds like a cacophonous death rattle, or what, but this record has me frothing at the mouth for carnage. In a sense, Obsideo is the record that most fits the Pestilence name. It’s corrosive, pernicious, destructive, and polluting in all possible ways.
(TheMadIsraeli continues his retrospective assessment of the discography produced by the seminal death metal band Pestilence, whose new album Obsideo was released recently. The first part of this series can be found here, the second part here, and the third part here.)
Spheres, released in 1993, would be Pestilence’s last record for quite a while. I don’t know exactly what prompted that delay, although I know Spheres was not at all well-received. Maybe it was a record too ahead of its time, who knows. As far as it appeared, Pestilence were done. Mameli would go on to try and make a band called C-187 (who were widely regarded as absolutely terrible) his new haven, but it didn’t work out.
So, with so many years of silence and the only peep from the band’s founding member being something that never got off the ground, I think people must’ve been shocked when a Pestilence reunion was announced. I remember the great deal of hesitancy on the part of Pestilence fans at that time, principally those who felt Spheres was garbage and those who remembered C-187.
It sucked, the skepticism that Mameli was under. As I stated in the last piece, I think Spheres is a great record. I will say, though, that C-187 was not exactly the best musical move. The man was under a lot of pressure, and every Pestilence record post-reunion has suffered from what I felt was shallow and baseless criticism. People were and still are hung up on Consuming Impulse. I can’t say I get it.
(TheMadIsraeli continues his retrospective assessment of the discography produced by the seminal death metal band Pestilence, whose new album Obsideo was released recently. The first part of this series can be found here and the second part here.)
So, after you’ve released a beast of an album, an album that is praised as one of the greatest death metal records ever, what do you do from there? After releasing Consuming Impulse, Pestilence were at a point where the band had to either continue doing the same thing over and over again with consistently stellar results (not an easy thing), or take a ninety-degree turn and pave a new way.
I suppose I really should be saying Patrick Mameli in particular here, because in the end this is HIS band. This becomes no more apparent than during the period after Martin Van Drunen leaves and Mameli takes up both the guitar and mic duties again. For the Pestilence name, the music that would be produced in the next two records would be a definite risk. Neither containing the feral savagery of Malleus… nor retaining the foaming-at-the-mouth ferocity of Consuming Impulse, the next round of Pestilence material would see Mameli exploring progressive structures and ideas, and digging back into and even further exploring the alien brand of riffing found on Malleus….
It’s here that we’ll see experimentations with odd time signatures, fringe elements brought in from other sub-genres (some jazz fusion elements, black metal, and doom metal stuff) and an overall disregard for the conventional. This is where Pestilence would become associated with the likes of Cynic, Death, and Atheist.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli continues his retrospective assessment of the discography produced by the seminal death metal band Pestilence, whose new album Obsideo was released recently. The first part of this series can be found here.)
Fucking finally I can fucking get back to this fucking shit and fucking write about fucking metal and shit. I must finish this Higher Criticism series and review Obsideo before the year is over or else my lungs will claw their way out of my ass (you can thank Michael Swaim of Cracked for that one) from the feeling of abject failure.
I both love and hate these two records. They stand as a testament to the pinnacle of how thrashy death metal can and SHOULD be done. In a way, I think Pestilence can be considered the most influential factor in the birth of the so called deathrash style. I mean, there were other bands sure, but not many who weaved the two styles together this seamlessly at the time. Maybe Devastation, and maybe early Death, but those are about the only other examples that occur to me.
We are way past the end of our usual posting day, but I just heard something that made me too anxious to wait until tomorrow morning. It’s a new lyric video for a new song by Pestilence named “Necro Morph”, the first music to be heard from the band’s next album Obsideo. I have a few immediate reactions.
First, it sounds HUGE. Second, it’s absolutely decimating — a high-speed flurry of pneumatic riffs and weaponized percussion, with a punishing, stomping mid-section and writhing, alien lead guitar machinations. Third, Patrick Mameli’s vocals sound filthy (in a good way). And fourth, all those Pestilence fans who were hugely disappointed by Doctrine (and I wasn’t one of them) will breathe sighs of relief. This is brutal.
Listen to it next, and feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments. If you happen to have any Kevlar body armor lying around, you might want to strap it on before listening to “Necro Morph”. Actually, never mind. That won’t be enough to stop what this fires at you.
Collected in this post are a handful of news items I spied earlier today. Unlike most of these daily round-ups, no new music is included (other than a teaser for one band’s new album). But read it anyway, won’t you?
We’ve been keeping our eye out for new information about Obsideo, the next album by Pestilence, because for fuck’s sake, it’s Pestilence. Today we all get to see the album cover ,and now we also know the release date (by Candlelight Records in North America): November 11.
Although I’ve seen some expressions of anxiety and pessimism about this new album given the generally lukewarm reaction to the last one, I choose to have faith in Patrick Mameli and the 8-string guitar he used to record these new songs. Also, he says, “We have gone beyond our human limits to achieve the highest form of brutal music . . . it is really ten of the most demanding songs written in death metal.”
Bring it on.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli continues his retrospective assessment of the metal contributions of Pestilence. To read the introduction, go HERE.)
So here we are, starting the Pestilence series in earnest. Pestilence in their early years played surprisingly primitive death-thrash compared to what they would become. Pestilence were also one of the first notable bands out of the Dutch scene, an area that has become a diverse hotbed of some of metal’s most interesting bands, evolving to the point where Textures may now be the best known. Not having been around at the time when Pestilence released Dysentery and The Penance, I can’t say how well-known the band was at that time.
These two demo’s were released in the same year, and both had a sound that really feels like it has nothing to do with the band’s infamous debut Malleus Maleficarum. With that said, let’s start with the very first recorded output, Dysentry.
If that tape cover isn’t old school as fuck I don’t know what is. Dysentry appeared in 1987, a blossoming period for the burgeoning death-thrash movement that was beginning to erupt. This was the era of Sepultura, Devastation, and Protector, an era of vomity putrid vocals of a raw primal nature, detuned guitars in most cases, and frantic riffing that paid more tribute in its tone and aesthetic to a grimy frantic hardcore mood that merely channeled the technicality and speed of thrash metal as it had developed up to that point.
1. A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.
2. A pernicious, evil influence or agent.
(Not long ago TheMadIsraeli concluded a reassessment of the discography of Kataklysm that he termed “Higher Criticism”. Now he’s ready to embark on yet another journey, as explained in this introduction.)
Pestilence are a band who have the odd distinction of being influential, innovative, under-recognized, and controversial all at the same time. One of the pioneers of progressive death metal along with the likes of Death, Atheist, and Cynic, Pestilence have been subjected to massive scrutiny due to mastermind Patrick Mameli’s inability to commit to a sound, as well as the fact that in some cases those different sounds have had absolutely nothing to do with each other. Mameli’s style of angular and melodic juxtaposition within his riffage is the one thing that has defined Pestilence for as long as they have existed, and is perhaps the only consistent factor from album to album.
I can say two things about Pestilence with utter conviction. First, your education as a trve fan of extreme music is incomplete unless you have heard Consuming Impulse (1989) — or really, any one of their first three albums. And second, their most recent album Doctrine (2011) was extremely divisive. Many critics and fans slammed it hard, while others (including yours truly) enjoyed it, notwithstanding (and indeed partly because of) the forays into groove, the renewed adventuring in jazz fusion, and Patrick Mameli’s vocal acrobatics, which were more often elevated into a higher range than on previous releases.
In the wake of Doctrine, bass player extraordinaire Jeroen Paul Thesseling and drummer Yuma van Eekelen left the band to concentrate on other projects, and it was unclear what would happen to Pestilence next. We now have a much better idea. Shortly before Christmas, and without much fanfare, the album art you see above surfaced on Facebook. It’s for a new Pestilence album named Obsideo. It was created by Santiago Jaramillo of Triple Seis Design and it’s damned cool.
In addition, as previously announced by the band, the new album will feature Stephan Fimmer (Necrophagist) on bass and David Haley (Psycroptic) on drums, and the plan is for both of them to play with Pestilence at live shows as well as in the studio.
I don’t have a release date yet — in fact, I don’t think recording has begun, although the writing of the songs has been completed. However, I do have some comments by Patrick Mameli about the new album.
(NCS writer Israel Flanders bravely sticks his neck out with his list of the best albums released during the second quarter of 2011 — April, May, and June.)
So I’m back. Been out of it for the last week or so and just decided it was time to take some lazy days, but it’s time to get back to the fuckin’ metal and the fuckin’ headbanging action. It’s now the end of the second quarter of 2011 and I figured I would continue my top ten of every quarter series, which I started at The Metal Register. So, just for refreshers sake, let’s take a look at what I picked for Q1. In no particular order I had…
Sylosis – Edge Of The Earth
Eradication – Dreams Of Reality
TesseracT – One
Born Of Osiris – The Discovery
Rotten Sound – Cursed
Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand
Paul Wardingham – Assimilate/Regenerate
Times Of Grace – Hymn Of A Broken Man
Deicide – To Hell With God
So now we move on to the list for Q2. I know people are going to complain, bitch, moan, and otherwise cry at me through the comments on how often I didn’t pick your favorite tech-death band that sounds like rejected Psycroptic demos, but if I haven’t heard it, I’m not gonna pick it. Now let’s get to the albums shall we? (after the jump . . .)