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What a Great Debut - 94%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, July 22nd, 2008

Unquestionably one of the most original and vicious bands ever born in Europe, Pestilence easily gained a respectable status of cult band along these years. At the time, few believed in them because many were seeing a faded copy of early Death for the influences in their music but other ones, fortunately, were capturing something more from their musical expression and they were able to see the core of a band in constant change.

The beginning is in death/thrash style for the demos and with the first, great album Malleus Maleficarum, the violent, schizophrenic music was already filtrated through a non common technique and a sense of progressive music. The atmosphere in these tracks is one of the gloomiest ones in that period and still nowadays many bands cannot match it. The violence, the impact and the darkness were the essential elements of Pestilence in that magic period.

The production is very clear for the drums sounds and the vocals, but always conserves a beautiful dark touch. From the opener we already can see the awesome blend of thrash metal riffs, dissonant breaks and sudden fast restarts. The vocals by a young Van Drunen are already able to be frightening and truly morbid with that raspy, dramatic and totally sick tonality that still nowadays is a trademark of their unique sound.

Marco Foddis at drums is unbelievable when he comes on the up tempo. He has a chirurgical precision on alternating the fast beats while the two guitarists always draw lines of pure violence united a sense of incredible songwriting with morbid lead lines to create a compact and suffocating sound. The fast riffs run after each other in an infernal organized chaos of fast solos, desperate vocals, catchy refrains (“Parricide”, “Extreme Unction”) and relentless drums.

The song-masterpiece comes with “Commandments”. Five minutes of pure orgasm. The beginning is made of dark arpeggios to end in a total, devastating thrash metal impact riff. The tempo starts to increase and the drums follow behind creating an impenetrable wall of sick devastation. “Chemo Therapy” and “Bacterial Surgery” show incredibly good guitars duets, drums parts and pounding bass breaks. The obscurity is increasing and the dissonant riffs are heavy as a black monolith, pushed by restless palm muting parts.

This album is a real inferno of all the influences you could find in the extreme genre at the time, but redone in a personal and brutal way. Pestilence was already a hyper mature band and this album is here to prove it. So often this band didn’t receive the right attention and now it’s time to re-discover them, also through their incredible debut album.