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Pessimist's Best - 85%

Alastrann, June 15th, 2009

In 1997, the amalgam consisting of black metal and death metal was well-known. Bands like Dissection and Sacramentum had released legendary albums using this styling. But, until this time, musically it sounded like a more refined black metal with greater effort put into melody and song-writing. "Cult of the Initiated" did the opposite.

In this album, Pessimist mixes aesthetics black metal with a death/thrash base in order to create this beast of an album. Musically, it is not that distant from the likes of Morbid Angel and Possessed but it does contain a heavy black metal influence. The vocal delivery and lyrical diction both point to black metal. The musical influence of black metal doesn't shine through except in specific places such as the mid-section of "Drunk With The Blood Of The Saints."

The album itself has very little flaws. The guitar and bass tones are complementary. The drums are well-placed within the mix. Vocals are positioned on top of the mix yet not too high. The flaws I have found are all musical.

While, the band did ground-breaking work with this album, they also resorted to a generic presentation of their sound. Without "Drunk With The Blood Of The Saints," "Let The Demons Rest," and "Unholy Union," the album would be very generic. These tracks exhibit unique progression and interesting pieces, if only the same could be said for the rest of the album.

The rest of the album plays out like a stereotypical death/thrash album. It features the generic thrash riffs coupled with heaviness for heaviness' sake. As well as, the expected chaotic soloing. If a little more effort had been given and these factors minimized it would have been an easy 9/10.

Even with all of these errors, this album is still the band's best output to date. It also features their best song to date, "Drunk With The Blood Of The Saints." If you are a fan of blackened death metal, this is a must-listen.