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Just recently I had a discussion about the old Pestilence. A friend of mine swears by ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ while I am clearly of the ‘Consuming Impulse’ persuasion. I thought it was about time I wrote a review about Malleus since I did the rest a long while ago already.
‘Malleus Maleficarum’ is thrashier than ‘Consuming Impulse’ would be. This was caused by three elements: More polka beat (and consequently higher average pace), more thrash metal based riffs and vocally van Drunen was still trying to sound like Possessed (even though his own typical sound was already shining through).
The biggest problem I have with the album is the inconsequent quality of the songs. They’re either great or mediocre. Especially on the first half of the album it follows the “mediocre song followed by good song” formula. The good songs obviously being “Parricide“, “Extreme Unction“ and "Chemo Therapy“. These songs are good because the riffs are great, the performance is energetic but most important, the songs are excellently contrived and worked out. All riffs, lyrics, breaks (etc) serve the song instead of the other way around.
And that’s exactly what makes “Antropomorphia“, “Subordinate to the Domination” and “Commandments” lesser and even somewhat mediocre songs. Yes, there are plenty of great breaks and riffs there but the compositions do not always make sense. The copy-paste feeling peeps around the corner. I’m not saying these are bad songs, just lesser. All three have a great chorus which saves the day.
The second half of the album is dominated by two good songs, “Bacterial Surgery” and “Systematic Instruction”. But then again “Cycle of Existence” is almost ruined by the main riff on the verses. I guess it was composed that way but it always sounds as if played out of time and annoys me every time. The instumental “Osculum Infame” is pretty obsolete. As if they wrote two intros for the album and decided to put the one that was left over, at random on the album.
I said it once but I’ll say it again: I won’t call anything on this album bad nor will I call it a bad album since even the lesser compositions still have some great riffs and chorusses to be highly enjoyable. It’s just that on their next album the songs as individual entities were simply superior.