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Well, after the aptly titled "Resurrection Macabre", could you really expect lightning to strike twice? After leaving behind a career marred by the inconsistencies between albums, Pestilence seemed to have bitten the dust and faded away like the many greats of their era (Atheist, Cynic, Nocturnus). One could only reflect fondly on the massively advanced, vicious thrashing of Malleus Maleficarum, the inspiring rawness and brutality of Consuming Impulse, the less impressive and somewhat innocuous but ultimately catchy performances of Testimony of the Ancients, and the ambitious, love it or hate it ugly duckling of a swansong Spheres. Despite Spheres' rather avant-garde ambition, and for all its moments of genius scattered to and fro, it was unfortunately chock full of too many interchangeable riffs, backed by meandering MIDI programmed patches of strings and synth, and inconsistent in direction. Also, I was NOT delighted by the shameless, abundant use of MIDI, which even for its time, was a dated sound and technique. No Casio keyboards in the Netherworlds? Prolly would've sounded better than MIDI! I don't dislike Spheres and do enjoy it on many levels for it has a great many ideas throughout, but is one of my least listened to of the catalog due to the high polarization between unprecedented creativity and unmemorable redundancy.
So out of nowhere came Resurrection Macabre, and after all the time that had passed, I felt as though their presence in the current ultra-technical, super-sheen, lifeless robo-recordings of today would just be a mere blip on the radar for all but the truly dedicated diehards from an era long past where "songs" went somewhere and actually felt like they meant something to someone, and were mostly devoid of attempts at "winning the competition" of speed and genre-grafting. Much to my surprise, the 1st track started with a misleading warm up grunt from main man Pat that led into the strongest, gnarliest track on the album. From the moment the band was queued in, that album bludgeoned and molested much akin to the likes of your stepfather to your mother while you stared mouth agape as if waiting for a dick to get popped in and those naive eyes glazed with those sweet, sweet tears I typically crave from children that age. Oh shit? What happened? Where am I? Anyhoo! We're not talking about that album, so I guess I'm just wasting your time! Fuck that, let's review this album my little nigglettes.
Ok, so what happened? This album has a wasteful intro. Seriously, I don't care. Get on with it already. The first real track invites us in with the lukewarm, sloppy sound of an 8 string guitar with cheap factory pickups I'm guessing, delivering a rather timid riff atop a blastbeat. All doesn't seem lost until the possibly WEAKEST failure of a scream is so emphysemically bellowed for a whopping 4 seconds or whatever, at which point the once-sufficient vocals (yet never surpassing Martin Van Drunen's) of Patrick Mameli renders him unconscious and needs bong-to-mouth resuscitation. How the mighty have fallen.
To avoid having a seemingly endless review on my hands, I'll just cut the bullshit and declare the vocal performance for the album as a whole as a mixed bag of goodies and dogshit. Some moments Pat Mameli shows shades of his former quasi-glory, whereas there are occurrences where Joe Mamameli really jeopardizes his validity as a serious vocalist in this medium, ie the out of context, retarded Mexican rolled "R"s as in "Arrrrrrrriba!" and his failed attempt at what seems to be a Tom Araya "Angel of Death" scream, but (A) doesn't hardly rival that one and (B) is, again, out of context with the music and poorly placed. No points for these arbitrary ploys at "variety" and "mixin' it up".
So what the fuck happened? It seemed like Resurrection had him on the right path as the creative instructor? Our main man Pat (A), which had hitherto been all in all a satisfactory voxman, now just needs to stick to guitar and get ol' Marty VanFly back to spewing forth pestilence (booyah!). Speaking of guitarwork...now I will rip into this real hit or miss album from the instrumental perspective.
First of all, I'll just say that I don't like this guitar tone, plain and simple. Any tuning below, say A or even G, doesn't really impress me because it starts to sound more like a bass (mainly because they more than likely would have to use a string of about .70 to .80 gauge to effectively hold a tuning of F# or lower). Another thing that annoys me about that is this sneaking suspicion that the Peppermint Patty twins thought maybe that they could lure in some of the Summer Slaughter kids with some "Djent" sound (possibly the STUPIDEST term ever coined. Misha Monsoor, you will pay for such faggotry you douche!!!) and Meshuggah riffing amidst their expected, Pestilence fanfare. Maybe bringing back Patrick Uterwijk (Pat B) wasn't such a great idea, especially after all this time. A lot of the time the process of elimination can point to the variable (introduction of outside force) to the scientific control (well functioning band producing enjoyable byproduct) as the factor which renders the experiment sour and nearly fruitless (does the "I" album ring a bell, Evil D?). On the other hand though, Mama's boy Mameli DID participate in the über gay, 3rd rate Slipknot sounding band C-187...which we, that have shamefully heard anything by them, know is gayer than an all-u-can-eat dick buffet... 'nuff said.
In summation, I will say that after looking past the terrible vocals, "Djent" guitar sound, and abundance of suspicious mixing of Euro nu-metal riffs and Pestilence signature style, this album holds its merits still. There are still moments of clarity where the vocals fit and are passable, there are quite a few riffs that definitely had my ears perk up and one cannot deny that there is some delightful, inventive soloing occurring throughout. Also, their new no-name drummer does not dazzle the seasoned listener of the genre, but nevertheless holds it down and keeps it tight, all the while having a tolerable, natural drum sound seldom found in today's death metal market. The bass lines of Thesseling ubiquitously hold together the foundation of rhythm and melody without overwhelming the recording with self parody a la Alex Webster or whomever else, only taking the spotlight here and there to highlight the passages. Kudos to his near flawless legacy (sorry JPT but I can't forgive participating in Mayan. Guess a nigga gotta pay his bills tho!).
If you are a veteran fan and have enjoyed all their works previous and ain't got no bones 'bout passin' the Dutchies, you might welcome this album into your good graces. If you were hoping for a return to their earlier days or to pick up where they left off with Resurrection Macabre, you may only find discernible traces "Peppered" (self-referential pun, boom shakalaka!) into each track, a midst all the "core" riffs and wheezing grunts and growls. Overall, as good as it may get these days, considering the endless landfill of shitty albums being shat out.
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