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I picked this one up because of the cover art, which depicts a devastated city, apparently in the times of WW2, with bombers flying above it and troops gathered underneath them and a soldier facing his harsh reality. Sure, it isn’t anything new, but it was very well done and it was catchy to the eye. The only thing I knew about Pessimist at that moment was that they were a relatively new thrash metal band that had put out one album before this one here, so I had pretty big expectations about it. And they did surprise me. Now, this is how you fucking play thrash metal. When I talk about new thrash bands, I mean bands like this one here. Competent bands when it comes to make music, bands that are not satisfied being average and don’t fall to cheap, overused clichés.
Pessimist are considerably ahead of bands of their time. Death from Above shows a band with very good songwriting skills, capable of elaborating songs that clock at almost 7 minutes and never stop sounding interesting and fresh, as well as entertaining, thanks to the riff-spitting guitar duo that they have. They don’t content themselves just with playing straight-forward thrash either, as we will find acoustic and clean guitar passages, like those in 'Antisocial Bastards', 'Behind the Veil' and 'The Last Bastion' that contribute to build a song structure that is pleasant and interesting to listen to. All this elements combined give as a result a thrash metal album that at the same time that is aggressive and 'old-school', for those 'old-school' lovers, arises as an intelligent and fresh piece of music.
Wether you look at the more straight-forward thrash numbers or at the more developed songs, Pessimist shows to be a forced to be reckoned with. On one hand there are songs like 'Feindfahrt', 'Blood Will Flow' or 'Don’t Care' where they show their more old-school sound and influences. And on the other hand there are gems like 'Antisocial Bastards', 'Behind the Veil' y 'The Last Bastion'. 'Antisocial Bastards' starts off with an acoustic intro that makes me think of the far west (maybe it’s not that, but it was the first thing that came to my mind) followed by some Iron Maiden-like melodies that pave the path for the German onslaught. Almost at the 4 minute mark, they take back the acoustic intro to lead you to a really nice guitar solo that takes us to the end of the song. 'Behind the Veil' is a very good instrumental piece that opens with a clear guitar that plays until the electric chords come in followed by another wild riff, mixed in with some “softer” sections where the lead guitar plays. The last song that I want to make a mention about is 'The Last Bastion', which clocks at 7:13 minutes and yet again features slaying riffs, one after the other. Check out that acoustic base that sounds while the guitar plays its solo, and around the 5 minute mark, the chaos and mayhem stops to yield the way to a beautiful and well-crafted acoustic outro. Certainly, the best track this album has to offer so far. Thanks Dio they saved it for the last part.
The five guys know what they are doing. Each of them dominate their instruments really well, and the five of them shine throughout the album and none of them are overshadowed by the others. Vocalist TZ at times sounds like an angrier and screamier Gerre. Both guitarists Richard & Eric are riff-making machines, complimented by the impeccable bass and drum work from Sevi and Zufi respectively.
In conclusion, with Death from Above, Pessimist showed their potential to play top-notch thrash metal in the 21st century. Bands like these are proof that today, thrash metal is alive, healthy and fresh and that you don’t need to rip off any 80’s band to make music.