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 have picked Pestilence as a subject for this “Higher Criticism” series not only for their diverse, eclectic discography (which has maintained an ethic of, and dedication to, sonic depths of depravity), but also because they are a favorite band I hold dear. The Pestilence name represents a steadfast keeping of the faith, as it were, in maintaining the brutality, the visceral nature of death metal, while also representing an ever-evolving introspection of the sound being conveyed. Stated more briefly, the band have continually pushed the envelope.
I figured the selection of Pestilence for this this assessment was also appropriate because the band have an upcoming album, Obsideo, and thus are about to write the next chapter in their varied career.
I will follow the same rules as in the Kataklysm series, of course. I do want to add a note concerning EP’s and demo’s though. Kataklysm didn’t have much at all in this respect that was worth assessing in terms of content and importance to the band’s growth; Pestilence, however, does. So in this case they will definitely be touched on to a much greater degree.
So let me know in the comments, how do you feel about Pestilence on the whole?
I’ll see you guys again when we hit their first two demo’s, Dysentery and The Penance.
EDITOR’S NOTE: By coincidence, the latest issue of DECIBEL magazine, which hit my mailbox last weekend, names Consuming Impulse by Pestilence as the 99th addition to the DECIBEL HALL OF FAME. The article includes a long, interesting interview with the Pestilence members who recorded that album — Patrick Mameli, Martin Van Drunen, Marco Foddis, and Patrick Uterwijk.