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This is Pestilence’s severely overlooked debut. It is a Thrash Metal one, although at times it can almost be mistaken for Death Metal, mainly because of the over-the-top deep raspy shouts and the overall intensity of the music. But no; this is Thrash, similar in style to stuff like Possessed’s The Eyes Of Horror or Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains, or perhaps a more polished Pleasure To Kill. The musicianship is extremely technical, yet pummeling and skull-crushing in that familiar old-school style. The riffing style is rather unique. It is aggressive, energetic, catchy and technical all wrapped up into this album, with chugging tremolo riffs interlaced with lots of unpredictable melodies and solo work. The drums are extremely fast most of the time (they probably reach their most frenetic speed in Extreme Unction), while never approaching blastbeats of any kind. This music is nice for almost any setting. You can just sit back and headbang, or have it playing in the background while you work, etc.
The atmosphere this album conveys is just unbelievable, and is part of why I rated this album so high. As I have probably said more than once, it is all-out aggression, yet at the same time it’s never mindless. The riffs conjure up an eerie, almost haunting atmosphere at times. A good example of this is the title track intro, where one guitar lets a note drone on and on while the other guitar plays complex, emotional melodies underneath. It would definitely fit into an epic horror movie of some sort. The songs do a good job of switching between brutal and haunting, in a way that the two seam together and don’t sound forced or watered-down in the least. The lyrics are extremely well-written, especially considering English is not the band’s native language. Serious topics such as religious persecution are addressed, along with tales of things like mutants destroying the human race, and you can’t help but sing along (once you’ve got the lyrics memorized, that is).
So should you get this? Hell fucking yeah! Listening to this album makes my balls empty themselves!!! The 1998 rerelease of this by Displeased Records includes both the Dysentery and The Penance demos, which is almost like a second mini-album on the same disc, as only Affectation would reappear on Malleus Maleficarum itself (under the name Cycle Of Existence). This along with the nice remastering job makes this even more of a must-buy. Whether you’re a fan of Thrash, Death, or Death/Thrash, you will love this.
Highlights: Cycle Of Existence, Extreme Unction, Chemo Therapy, and pretty much the whole album!