(We present DGR‘s review of a new MLP by the Swedish death metal band Centinex. It will be released by Agonia Records on April 1st.)
We have our pillars of consistency on this website, the ones we go to because we know exactly what we’ll be in for from moment one. Surprises are welcome but for the most part these are the bands who’ve long found what works for them and are sticking to it.
Centinex are one such band, part of the wave of death metal that so rigidly adheres to old school philosophies that you could pull any release from their discography and it would feel more like a snapshot out of an older time than a modern release. They found their power in the classic thudding bass and snare drum rotation and the joyfully-stupid guitar riff that buzzes so hard your headphones sound like you might’ve kicked a bees’ nest without noticing.
Since their reformation in 2014, Centinex have released a handful of solid-as-hell death metal records and shifted lineups sizeably once, with bassist Martin Schulman remaining the main pillar of the group. Centinex are his classic death metal band and when he wants to aim for something more in line with the current gallop-and-blastfest style, then he shifts into Demonical mode.
Both groups, however, find themselves with releases prepared for 2022, and for Centinex that means a brand new four-song EP entitled The Pestilence, with the same lineup that made 2020’s Death In Pieces. Would you believe us if we said that, once again, Centinex have written music that is about as red meat for the crowd as red meat comes?
We call this feature “Short But Sweet” for a reason, and The Pestilence is the definition of that. This EP is about as unassuming as they come; the album art is a photo of the band, there’s about seventeen and a half minutes worth of music here, and opener “Armageddon” hits the ground running and lays out the groundwork for the next three songs.
Centinex roll through the swede-death writing tropes with reckless abandon here and for the most part keep that tempo high, circling back around to the power of the primal one-two drumming rotation mentioned above. “Evil Is Evil” keeps things mean and thrashy, which will likely add to the already high amount of circle-pit starters that Centinex have in their armory, and when combined with “Armageddon” it can give the impression that The Pestilence is flying by you.
Things don’t get big and sinister until “Tremble In Fear”, which is written to be the slow grinder of the album and is where you’ll find plenty of bass guitar rumble. It’s your mid-tempo crawler of a song and is there in part to break up the pace a bit — because right afterward you hit “Torture”, which is only ten seconds longer than “Evil Is Evil” but shares similar DNA and purpose. “Torture” is more punk-riff-fueled than its sibling, but by the same token, we’re talking entirely in reptilian-brain terms here. There’s no PHD thesis to be found within the song, it’s about as objectively driven as they come musically and sometimes that’s exactly what you’d want.
Weirdly enough though, The Pestilence may be the perfect quick-hit of Centinex one might’ve wanted in between full-lengths. It’s a hard balance for bands to find with EPs, where just the right amount of material can stave people off for a while. Yet with The Pestilence Centinex may have unintentionally found that amount without creating one of those releases that just as quickly floats off into the memory-aether as it might’ve appeared. It sounds like a direct continuation of Death In Pieces, but that is an album that, much like its siblings before it, was just as purpose-driven as the EP is.
When you have an act like Centinex, sometimes a quick hit to the system is exactly what works, without things starting to drag or becoming a rigid adherence that feels uninspired. The Pestilence hits quick, and save for the lurching “Tremble In Fear”, keeps things fast-paced and swirling. It’s well worth the listen.