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Death/thrash freightrain!!! - 79%

Lane, April 2nd, 2012

With Pessimist's debut album 'Cult of the Initiated', one gets exactly what's promised: US death metal from 1990s. However, I do suggest you continue reading, if you have a soft spot for this music style, because while not being a highly original act, Pessimist have other fine traits in them.

After three demos, this Baltimorean band who formed in 1993, released their debut album. Some said, that death metal was already dead, meaning truly over and out. Out of fashion? Yeah, the mainstream metal folks thought that way anyway. Pessimist guys, however, didn't. 'Cult of the Initiated' is a soulful yet demonic onslaught of savory death metal. Thrash metal plays a significant part on this album.

First, the music is really rolling at times, and of course some slower, lingering bits aren't forgotten. When it's time to get intense, guys really go for it seemingly easily, both in playing and vibe. Guitar work consists of nasty riffage, evil lead guitars, and otherworldly solos. Clanking bass guitar is nicely audible in the mix, and drums are really pummeling. Able low growled vocals are accompanied by throat-ripping, tortured screaming. A bit in vein of Napalm Death. I have an impression, that this album sounds like a mixture of older Malevolent Creation and Deicide, plus Demolition Hammer, with a hint of Cannibal Corpse. But Pessimist have added their own kind of aggression and arcane melodiousness to it. The song quality is overally above good.

The guitars sound ripping and heavy, liting up the feeling of offence. The solo guitars are more airy in their tone, but still brooding. The bass guitar is clanking, as mentioned before, and the drums are powerful, especially kick drums. And definitely not triggered. The mix is good; it is very thick, but still everything has its place in it. Intensive is the word for how this album sounds like.

The cover art has ugly computer graphics with big pixels. Lyrics are printed, gladly, but in a annying manner: Only caps and long lines. Anyways, the more important factor about the lyrics is their themes, right? Corrupted politicians and systems, demons, antireligious texts, sexual derivations and killing. Gladly, it's not the most typical story-telling.

'Cult of the Initiated' is a fine dose of aggression, both musically and soundwise. If you're into 1990s US death metal with a thrashy twist, add this to your list of "must check outs"!

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)