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The dire grunting of "Ughh Ughh Ughh" and the chug chug riffs that proceed it are the first obscenities that greet the listener to this utterly abysmal record, the aforementioned chug riff is played over and over again and the closest thing to a chorus is Patrick Mameli growling "Devouring Frenzy" repeatedly in the most boring atonal growls. Well at least I know the name of the track. To think this is the same band that released the two classic records "Consuming Impulse" and "Testimony of the Ancients" admittedly minus a few members, which judging by this effort were key to the proper functioning of the band.
Unfortunately the rest of the record hardly fares better. Every song to one degree or another suffer from the same blemishes listed. The lyrics have no flow to them, choruses are usually the track name grunted again and again, dreadful vocals and boring chug riffs and overuse of blast beats. Pestilence really miss the lyrical nuances of Marco Foddis, whether he was writing lyrics about disease on "Consuming Impulse" or occult themed lyrics of "Testimony" the lyrics were more than mindless grunts and repeated words, they had proper flow to them and complimented the music.
Mameli even went and appealed to the loyal Pestilence fanbase by writing a continuation of the song "Dehydrated" titled "Dehydrated II". Musically speaking this is as far from the original as you could find, where the original had the brilliant lyrics of Marco Foddis and the distinctive roar of Martin Van Drunen this continuation has the aforementioned issues, the chorus is just "Dehydrated" growled over and over, I mean really is that the best you could do Patrick? Once again I am going to repeat myself but the vocals, no soul to them just grunts and soulless growls. The worst of them all is "Hangman" I felt violated when I first heard this, the riff just goes guh-dink guh-dink guh-dink then comes crappy atonal vocals, shitty thin sounding guitars, pretty much everything that makes this an awful record. The best compliment I could give this record is that the title track "Resurrection Macabre" is not terrible, the best of an incredibly bad bunch.
The solos and lead guitar feel like the cuts from "Spheres" but more dissonant and sloppy, it's a shame because I always considered Patrick Mameli a technically accomplished guitarist that could put soul and meaning into his solos à la "Land of Tears" but these are so forgettable. The lyrics are not the only area where Marco Foddis' absence is sorely felt the drumming fairs no better. Peter Wildoer is a technically accomplished drummer and his drumming is well executed but it's just so bland and samey, I would argue that Wildoer is more talented than Foddis but Foddis shows more character with his drumming. Wildoer's drumming feels like that of a mercenary musician just doing the required to get a pay cheque and no more, it's as if he doesn't care about the record. The drumming can be boiled down to one of two formula's here, blast beats and invasive double bass. I'm not against either of those in fact I love them when tastefully executed but here it's all that is on offer. Sure it works if thats what you like.
When this record was first announced I was stupidly excited about Pestilence releasing a new record, I used to check their site every day to see what news could be found about this album. I finally got it and I felt dejected as if the band personally insulted me, all this record did was fuel my distrust over old bands reforming and releasing new records.
Even before I started to listen to "The Resurrection Macabre" I've read some opinions that the album is just weak and it's not the same Pestilence as it used to be. Shit, what a stupid mouth-fucking. Of course it can't be the same Pestilence. It never will. First of all, because it’s been 15 years since the last album and times are different. Secondly, if bands like Bolt Thrower or Asphyx have always had their one and only characteristic sound, which wasn’t changing much during the years, then Pestilence was (r)evolving with every album! So, which Pestilence isn't the same I ask: the death thrashing from "Malleus Maleficarum", pure death beast from "Consuming Impulse", atmospheric but technical "Testimony of the Ancients" or jazzy, too brave and thus misunderstood "Sphere"-era Pestilence? The band was always changing, so it's only due to your musical taste, which old albums are your favourite and which band's sound would you like to hear again on the comeback CD. But in the end it's again everything up to Partick Mamelli and what’s in his mind that he’ll compose. So, don't say the band is not the same anymore... The only thing that will never be back is the young age of the old Pestilence members, as well as the fact that nowadays Mamelli and Uterwijk are bold and put on weight quite a lot.
But usually everyone expects that the reformed bands will play just like on the old records. And yeah, there were some great comebacks: Unanimated, Asphyx, Benediction, Desultory... Even Gorefest, before turning (again) into self parody. But for Pestilence my expectations were high especially. I remember them being my favourite band in the early 90's, when I started to listen to death metal and there were three bands that I loved especially: Morgoth, Death and Pestilence. I had the tapes, which have been played almost every day and I still should have the remains of the old t-short somewhere. Of course "Testimony of the Ancients" was my number one album and the video for "Land of Tears" something amazing. But all Pestilence albums are classics nowadays (well, except "Spheres" maybe), I still listen to them frequently and so to be honest I expected quite a lot from "Resurrection Macabre"; maybe not such timeless as the old albums are, but at least something good and solid. And that's exactly what I got.
I'm pleased to announce that "Resurrection Macabre" doesn't disappoint me and if I had any expectations, it fulfilled them all. First contact with the vinyl is more than great as I really love the front artwork - definitely the best one along with "Testimony..." cover. The skeleton king holding "the sphere" in the tomb... it looks killer!
Oh, it's so good to hear Partick's voice again! It's the same feeling I had when I listened to Hail of Bullets' album for the first time and Martin van Drunen's vocals sounded from the speakers - it's the happiness to hear that these guys still have the guts and their voices didn't change much for the past 20 years and still sound very much like it was 1992. Both Martin (who, I don't need to remind you that, was a growler in Pestilence also!) and Patrick both have unique style of vocals and you can recognise them immediately. Since the "Spheres" Mamelli didn't lose anything and his growlings are still damn vicious and angry.
Also with the music only you can recognise what band it is. The riffs are so characteristic for Pestilence that it amazes me how quickly I got into this album and how often I was familiar with the specific technique and style of Pestilence and what I like most is that "Resurrection Macabre" combines all Pestilence albums and glue them together into new death metal beast. "Devouring Frenzy" for instance is vicious as hell, but has some parts, which easily could be on "Spheres" - I mean those slides, weird accords or whatever... It is pretty technical and mechanical, just like this old album, with the only difference which is that "Resurrection Macabre" is way more brutal and aggressive and the production is not so industrialised as the one from "Spheres". Here the guitars have power and they're total death metal, without much experimenting, there even aren't any keyboards - what instantly puts the cult of "Testimony of the Ancients" away and brings the connection to "Consuming Impulse" uncompromising sound.
Sometimes the playing is incredibly fast and relentless, more extreme and brutal than Pestilence ever was! And that's what I like about this album. I didn't expect it to be so aggressive and powerful and so death metal to the bone. There are many great and memorable songs here, "Horror Detox" being one of my favourite ones, I can really say it sounds like more updated version of the thrashing tracks from the first LP! The style of riffs and arrangements make me think of "Parricide" and I love it, it's great song with cool guitar lead! Then there's "Fiend", which again is in the "Spheres" style and "Devouring Frenzy" which is just a beast, so fast and brutal! "Hate Suicide" may have some parts similar to "Testimony", but without the focus on the dark atmosphere... and you may imagine now that "Resurrection Macabre" does connects the past with the present in fantastic way. Finally, the album brings three old tracks re-recorded (chosen by the votes from the fans), cool idea, but of course I’ll always prefer their original, old versions.
Of course I'll always say that the first three LPs are the best and classic forever, but honestly "Resurrection Macabre" is also really great and it is better than many of you may expect. OK, maybe not all tracks are classics, but they're cool and it was so good to listen to this style, these vocals and everything else again that I feel relieved the band didn't fail. Besides, if we talk about the technical death metal, "Resurrection Macabre" has something what most of the present bands from his style can't achieve - catchy and memorable, well written songs. There's nothing more to be said, just grab your copy of "Resurrection Macabre" and enjoy it!
First off, there's something that needs to be stated. Pestilence is a death metal band. Not some wannabe technical giant. "Spheres" was only one album in their career & it was different than anything else they have done, (albeit a good album as well) so, no I wasn't expecting or wanting them to try & reproduce that sound/style. With that being said, it's hard for me to stomach people bad mouthing or reviewing this album in a manner whereas they do not understand what the hell they are talking about. Expecting this comeback to be like "Spheres" or even "Testimony of the Ancients" is pointless. This album is a return to their roots (circa "Malleus Maleficarum" & "Consuming Impulse") while incorporating elements from the aforementioned releases. So if you are a person who actually wants to hear Pestilence playing very well-executed death metal, then check this release out.
The album ignites with "Devouring Frenzy" which is an utterly brutal track. Hearing Peter Wildoer's drumming alongside Mameli's guitar work is a breath of fresh air.. The fact that they have incorporated blast beats into the mix is something that has heightened their intensity & something I always had wished they'd do. "Horror Detox" is a very solid song that is a perfect fit for the second track. The third track(oh my fucking god!!), "Fiend" is absolutely outstanding. The chord utilization is superb. Anyone that was hoping for Pestilence to combine their elements of power & technicality just got their wish granted. This song is one of the best death metal songs ever written. Yes, it's that good! The rest of the songs are all at least good, with a couple of other standouts such as "Dehydrated 2" & "Hangman".
The production of this album is superb. Jacob Hansen did a remarkable job. The drum sound is absolutely perfect & the classic Pestilence guitar sound was captured quite well. Mameli's vocals are much more brutal than they have ever been. His lyrics are basic, but to the point & I think they serve their purpose just fine. One thing I wish stood out a little more is Choy's bass, considering how great of a player he is. There are moments where it comes through enough, but usually it is a little too far in the background, so it could be considered to be the one thing that is a negative on this album. The bonus re-recorded tracks are decent, but nothing special, so they probably didn't need to add these. No harm done though, they're at the end of the album, so it's just an added bonus if you care to hear them.
All in all, this a masterful comeback album. In a world of shitty comebacks & garbage metalcore/deathcore bands, this is what I was hoping for from these death metal legends. I hope they continue to write & record new material leading to another great release.
After 16 years of what could possibly be called pure hiatus, Pestilence has been resurrected and spewed forth 14 new triumphant tracks. Before we dive into this fresh batch of material, let me remind you in case you are unaware or were stoned out of your mind, there was a time (Spheres, 1993) when Pestilence changed gears and flopped liked a fish out of water when they decided to create jazz-oriented metal.
It was actually pretty awful and maybe they were due or doomed to their long awaited break. After 16 long years, the band has now redeemed themselves by releasing “Resurrection Macabre”, their best and heaviest effort to date. For starters, the production is top-notch. This is the first Pestilence album where you can actually hear everything. Guitar riffs actually go somewhere and the technical beats accompany the aggression of the drums perfectly. The band does, however, include oddball interludes and breaks along the way, probably to distract to keep it fresh and interesting, but hey, it keeps you hooked.
The final verdict: old fans and newcomers will not be disappointed. This is a powerful album and its dynamics are amazing.
I wasn't sure exactly what to expect from Pestilence's return after 14 years. The Dutch legends had become one of my favorite bands, recording absolute classics in a variety of styles. And though each album was dramatically different from the one before it, they somehow all sounded organically linked, as definitively Pestilence.
Thus the blasting brutality of "Resurrection Macabre" took me totally off-guard. Had I not known it was Pestilence, I would never have dared assume it. Now 14 years is a long lay-off and metal has certainly changed, gravitating away from the types of music made in Pestilence's heyday and more towards the style present on "Resurrection" but following in that vein, I think, was a mistake. Pestilence need not compete with anyone, and, as other veteran acts of their era have demonstrated, their is an audience for old-school death metal done well. This contemporization of the Pestilence sound has caused me grave conflict, in that while some of the tracks here blaze with an absolute viciousness, they are also somewhat bland and faceless, without the customization of that trademark Pestilence sound.
The one-two punch of 'Devouring Frenzy' and 'Horror Detox' set the stage for what is to follow. The first track offering up sick blasts and guttural retches. Again, it sounds less like Pestilence and more like Skinless (and a host of other faceless brutal-death clones). It's a good song but lacks that extra kick, that intangible something that made the earlier Pestilence records so memorable. Also, the solo is entirely too brief and forgettable. For a band whose earlier solos were so well-constructed and riveting, it's disappointing. 'Horror Detox' is slightly more traditional in it's alternating thrash and mid-paced double-bass attack. This song sounds like a step-forward from the 'Testimony' era and is one of the album's better songs. Unfortunately, the rest of the tracks don't vary too much from the formula of these first two tracks. The only ones to truly hook me thereafter were 'Synthetic Grotesque' and 'In Sickness and Death,' the latter the closest to old-school death metal that the band gets.
There is also a lot of wretched filler on this record as 'Dehydrated 2' insults the legacy of its predecessor; as do the re-records of three earlier masterpieces. 'Hangman' and 'Y2H' are back-to-back two of the worst death metal songs I've heard in awhile, with half-baked musical ideas and stupid lyrics. 'Fiend' has an intriguing beginning but ultimately goes nowhere. Hack out these tracks and we'd have a decent little EP, perhaps a taste of a direction for further exploration. But as they have been included, one must wonder if Mameli and co. just ran out of ideas in the studio; or else, didn't care enough to exert some serious quality control.
Thankfully, the sound on this record is excellent. Expertly recorded in the modern style, the guitars and drums really shred. Patrick Wildoer is a drum machine with human organs. Having always found Marco Foddis's drumming in the past to be slightly pedestrian, it is nice to hear someone with really adept and fancy footwork. Tony Choy's bass is sadly just there, following along, offering none of his usual dexterity. Why even bother to have him if you aren't going to let him unleash.
Taken on its own terms, "Resurrection Macabre" is a decent little death metal album with some memorable songs interspersed amongst some filler. For a burgeoning band just breaking into the scene, it would be a perfectly acceptable album. But for a band the stature of Pestilence, it simply will not do. "Resurrection Macabre" is so far below the level of their previous recordings that it is almost embarrassing. Hopefully the band has slaked this thirst for simplistically unadulterated brutality and will move forward with a clear vision and stronger songs.
Do you remember when Patrick Memeli said that a probable return of Pestilence would have been a quite hard thing? Well, with this Resurrection Macabre we can really see how the power of a good contract can “force” a band to return even if it was not their idea. The last album by Pestilence was Spheres, as we all know and at the time that album shared the progressive scene with other efforts by bands like Atheist and Cynic. The time has changed now and this new album goes back to the origins of the band, without forgetting everything they made during their career. Resurrection Macabre is not a complete resurrection because has lots of weak points and surely you cannot compare this album to the other ones in their discography.
The line-up includes Tony Choy at the bass and Wildoer at the drums. Now, why these choices? I don’t know, because the production doesn’t exalt the qualities of the bass player and the drumming for this album should have been old school, not complex and with harmless, out of place blast beats. For example, let’s begin right from the opener “Devouring Frenzy”: the riffs are old style, with a progressive hint and the vocals are low, guttural and truly evil but the blast beats are excessive, without counting the song structure that is too elementary. “Horror Detox” is far better in my opinion because the classic up tempo is way more able to give the right intensity and the riffs are even catchier this time, supporting a great refrain.
As I said before, so far the bass is too isolated and “normal”. When you listen to it behind the other instruments is just something metallic and highly impersonal, and at this point I can only think to Choy as a credit for the album but nothing more. I mean, there’s no reason for calling out such a bass player when the structures are straightforward and so simple that he doesn’t emerge. The opposition blast beats/progressive sections on “Fiend” are almost annoying because they clash and not in a good way, creating an utterly boring track, especially on the long mid-paced mid section. “Hate Suicide” is a bit faster and better, but the riffs are not astounding at all and I hate those blast beats.
With the main riff on “Synthetic Grotesque” they found an awesome thing because it brings you back to the end of the 80s, on that mythical Consuming Impulse and even the more “experimental” parts are not boring. The stop and go of a fast “Neuro Dissonance” are very good but the structure is more or less the same for all the length and again the blast beats are excessive but the fast bass drums parts are perfectly executed. When we come to “Dehydrated II” I think if that was really necessary. I mean, a shabby follow-up to that mythical song is too dangerous and on this case Pestilence failed. The nastiness and the brutality of the first chapter is something that cannot be beaten, even if you play on blast beats or whatever.
The title track is a slow march of purulent groove with just few faster overtures of bass drums and it’s nice, overall. With “Hangman” and “Y2H” we reach the lowest points of this album because these songs are just fillers and nothing more. There are not catchy riffs, but only non sense blast beats, groove/annoying progressions and that’s it. The last “In Sickness and Death” seems to come out form a Morbid Angel album for that dissonant touch and the slow, grooving march. Well, overall it’s not bad but considering the whole album, it’s not an exciting return. This is the classic case in which the reunion came along a shabby album. A few moments and two/three songs can be saved, but the rest is boredom.
“Resurrection Macabre” is a much stronger return than a long-time Pestilence fan like me could ever have expected! After “Spheres” (which I liked), I was very disappointed to see Patrick Mameli’s negative statements about metal music and metal fans. OK, so there’s no Martin van Drunen behind the mic but I’m fine with a “Martinless” Pestilence as well, Mr Mameli is a capable vocalist too. His vocal delivery on this album is his most brutal and powerful yet, quite a low grunt. The problem I’m having with this album is that I like the most of the new stuff but definitely not the bonus tracks (which are re-recordings of old Pestilence classics). Therefore I’m going to divide this review into two sections.
The new stuff:
“Resurrection Macabre” contains aggressive, tightly played and compact death metal. Yeah, it really is a death metal album! Mr Mameli seems to have found the inspiration for hard stuff again and also upped the brutality factor. The band’s thrash roots don’t shine through that much on this record, as it leans more towards the brutal death metal style. Pestilence have again created something new – their most brutal album yet, which nonetheless contains some shades of old as well. There are some somewhat groovy parts here and there but they never reach annoying levels, it’s more like a sign of the times. The new thing to the band’s sound on this album are blastbeats, something they apparently wanted to include already earlier on but their old drummer Marco wasn’t keen on the idea. For me it would be quite hard to picture the old Pestilence albums with blastbeats but here they definitely add a new element to the music. Peter Wildoer puts in a very energetic performance on this album and he is the man to raise Pestilence to new levels of technicality and versatility when it comes to the drumming. The drum patterns on this record are for sure the most complex the band has ever had. You’ll notice the bass too, which has metallic sound to it. On this album bassist Tony Choy mostly follows the pretty technical rhythm guitars but on tracks like e.g. “Horror Detox”, “Fiend”, “Synthetic Grotesque” and the title track he also plays some clearly audible patterns which differ from the guitars.
Opener “Devouring Frenzy” starts with a couple of vomits from Mameli’s throat and then it goes straight into an intense blastbeat/doublebass/blastbeat/doublebass section. This track gets the album off to a good bulldozing start and shows that the band are back. Two other extremely intense tracks are “Synthetic Grotesque” and “Neuro Dissonance”, both of which display especially Peter’s tight and skilled drumming. The manner in which he changes rhythm after every line of the chorus on “Neuro Dissonance” is really nice. “Dehydrated II” is a sequel to one of the band’s most popular songs. On this track old and new are combined, since the opening riff of “Dehydrated” can be heard during the blastparts. Four tracks have been spared the blast beats, namely “Horror Detox”, “Resurrection Macabre”, “Y2H” and “In Sickness and Death”. “Horror Detox” and “Hate Suicide” are the best tracks for headbanging, since both are pretty straightforward in structure. At least I found these two tracks the easiest to get into. After the pretty slow title track comes “HangMan”, a short song that includes another great performance from Peter: frantic blastbeats plus very complicated rhythms overall.
“Fiend” is the most “Spheres” like track, as it has quite a complicated structure. The main riff is a descending melody mixed with some dischords and some of the drum work sounds jazzy. The middle part of the track has some choppy rhythms, which take a bit of time to get into. Also some of the solos on this album sound a bit “Spheres” influenced, having a bit of an avant-garde character but always being well-executed. Pestilence is band that never does the same album twice and IMO they’ve delivered the goods for the most part again. Only the last two tracks, “Y2H” and “In Sickness and Death”, are pretty faceless and predictable when it comes to the riffs and arrangements. They sound too standard for this album and pale in comparison with the preceding material. Other than that I cannot agree with the people who are talking shit about this album, as it really exceeded all my expectations in a very positive manner. If you like pretty technical death metal with brilliant drumming, then “Resurrection Macabre” is an album for you.
The bonus tracks:
So, then it’s time to attack the three bonus tracks. My problem is not that they are re-recordings of older tracks, but that the band has tampered with some of the arrangements. OK, so now someone says “but what’s the point of a 1:1 new version”? Well, it would’ve sounded better for one. I know the original versions by heart and those are better IMO, there’s nothing I can do about that. On “Chemo Therapy” (from “Malleus Maleficarum”) they’ve e.g. slowed down the beginning and the chorus. The slowing down of parts of the track just makes it lose steam and sound inferior the original version. They’ve also dropped part of the solo section btw, argh. “Out of the Body” (from “Consuming Impulse”) is the best out of the re-recordings, since it stays the closest to the original. Even so, there are some annoyances such as leaving out a certain part of the song completely. The new version of “Lost Souls” (from “Testimony of the Ancients”) has been slowed down so much that it feels like listening to a 45 rpm vinyl on 33 rpm. Although this track is the one which played closest to the original when looking at the arrangements, it unfortunately sounds like the band are too old and tired to play it as fast as it should be played, ha.
I’d go as far as recommending people to buy this album as a version that doesn’t contain the bonus tracks. The new stuff is better off as its own entirety. If you’re a long-time fan, the bonus tracks will only disappoint you. If you’re a newcomer to Pestilence, buy the old albums and listen to the original versions instead.
What do you get when you take a classic and recently reformed Dutch death metal band, exclude integral members in the writing process, and try to make a comeback that's more "brutal and technical" than anything before? A combination this poor certainly would produce an album that has more value as a coaster than a CD, and that's exactly what Pestilence has done with their new album "Resurrection Macabre".
By no means is anyone in this band an awful musician - that's pretty obvious with Pestilence's previous efforts. Hell, even that new drummer they got has some chops. But this album lacks the spark, the emotion, and the overall power of albums like "Testimony of the Ancients" and "Consuming Impulse". Front man Patrik Mameli really fucked this album up from the start, and should consider never recording anything with Pestilence again.
There are several huge faults on this album that makes it just so damned boring and pointless. First, the song structures are completely uninspired, predictable, and overall lazy. Verse/chorus/bridge/repeat structures plague this album from front to back. Pestilence used to write some pretty intricate songs which would take the listener on a sonic journey with diverse parts. Where are the cool melodic parts from "Testimony of the Ancients"? Hell, where are all the cool riffs? Mameli seems just so focused on being "brutal and technical" that he's disregarded anything that made Pestilence cool in the first place, and replaced it with riffs that literally repeat 32 times over and over. The odd interesting riff pops up, but for the most part these riffs are boring and not memorable at all. Not only that, none of these riffs are brutal, or overly technical."Fiend" is a great example of this, good luck remembering a riff in that song.
The absence of Patrick Uterwijk and Marco Foddis from Pestilence are rather apparent on this recording. The lead work needs Uterwijk's input in there, that's just the way Pestilence is. Without it, we just get tons of Mameli leads, where a good handful of those seem very last minute or just stupid in general. Foddis, on the other hand, would've given this record quite a shake up. His drumming is definitely more appropriate than the guy on here (who is a good drummer but his drumming just doesn't work as well with Pestilence). I'm sure if these guys were in the band, we'd at least have some better thought out song structures.
Foddis would've also been great to have in Pestilence right now for another reason: the lyrics. Mameli's lyrics are bad. Bad to the point that you actually want to punch him in the face for reforming the band. Foddis, on the other hand, wrote pretty intricate lyrics that were thoughtful and cool. Mameli has replaced any lyrical integrity in the band with pure idiocy. Did he not get the memo about starting out half the songs by screaming out the name of the song right off the bat?
Maybe if these old members were on the recording of this album, the re-recordings of the old songs wouldn't suck so much. They're all slow and lack any bite that they once had in their original form. "Lost Souls" suffers from this the worst. Even if you look at the song lengths of these re-recordings verses the originals, it's pretty obvious they've slowed them down and ruined them. In addition to these stupid re-recordings, they made a sequel to the song "Dehydrated" by simply adding the numeral two to the end of the title. If that's not bad enough, Mameli basically just inverted the riffs from that album. How creative...
This album flops harder than a retarded fish on a dock. There is nothing stimulating about it, and it's clear that Mameli has either lost it, or just needs his former band mates to make something worth listening to. I've also forgot to mention Tony Choy on this record, partly because you barely notice him. A real shame, considering how wicked his bass playing is. I really hope Pestilence doesn't release anything else; they're really tainting their name with garbage like this.
It's been 16 years since the release of the jazz-infused Spheres, and throughout this period the legacy of Pestilence has spread through the underground. New generations of fans have grown to appreciate their influence and superb body of work, from thrashing death roots to the incorporation of fusion. To me, they are quite possibly the greatest death metal band ever. 'Consuming Impulse', now 20 years old, stands as one of the most effective and brutal offerings in all metal music.
'Resurrection Macabre' is a return to form after such a long hiatus, and I could not be happier. When I first heard they were releasing new material, I wasn't sure if they'd be moving 'forward' from 'Spheres', or returning to reflect an earlier period. It has turned out to be a mesh of their first three albums: the stark brutality and groove of 'Consuming Impulse', the deceptively simple riffing of 'Testimony of the Ancients', and the pseudo scientific, sociopath lyrics of 'Mallevs Maleficarvum'. Complete with a modern production standard, a renewed vigor of aggression, and the addition of percussion master Peter Wildoer (Darkane, etc) on the drum kit, this new album simply destroys. It's like an old tank you thought was lost to decay, returning yet again to the warpath for another volley of glorious murder.
"Devouring Frenzy" opens with a brief fluster of blasting mayhem as Mameli vomits forth the song title repeatedly (a trend he continues with many of the tracks, which threw me off until I realized it is somehow intentional). The track is laden in choppy groove riffs reminiscent of early Pestilence. "Horror Detox" is like the rebirth of "Land of Tears" but even more intense. You'll notice that a lot of the songs have very familiar riffing, minor alterations on past tracks, but this would probably only amount to an issue if you didn't enjoy the band to begin with. I happen to fucking love this band, and I accept the consistency here. "Fiend" alternates creepy minor chords with thrashing acrobatics, reminiscent of "Trauma". "Hate Suicide" is again similiar to earlier tracks (from Testimony of the Ancients) but weighted in a sick, grooving afterbirth. "Synthetic Grotesque" and "Neuro Dissonance" again weave the band's proto-thrash/death into frightening compositions which conjure both nausea and neurosis. Intense. "Dehydrated II" is a great sequel track which forges ahead despite some stylistic similarities to the original. The title track is a chugging, lurching track which erupts into some brilliant speed. "HangMan" alternates a frenetic burst with a churning frenzy in the verse. "Y2H" is anthemic brutality. This is a year to hate! Yesss!! "In Sickness and Death" closes the album with another tune similar to material from Consuming Impulse. A raving mad octave slide transforms into an escalating series of breakdowns.
As if the 11 new originals weren't enough, we are also treated to some re-recordings. "Chemo Therapy" sounds sufficienty brutal to match the new material, and it's good to hear with Mameli's vocals, even if it lacks the purist charm of the original. "Out of the Body" sounds quite the same with the exception of the vocals. "Lost Souls" probably fares the best of these three, since it was Mameli to begin with and this is just an update as far as the production. All members of the band excel here. Mameli and Uterwijk have not lost any of the savage and effective axemanship. Tony Choy returns on bass, and Wildoer simply dominates the kit. Assuming this reunion continues, perhaps we could have some van Drunen and Foddis guest spots next time around? The sound of the record is crushing and bright, one of the best I've heard in a long time.
As happy as I am, the album's not 100% perfect. As I mentioned, many of the songs sound familiar. This is by no means a negative trait, but for a band which was constantly breaking new ground in their day, I was surprised. It will be curious to see how this album galvanizes the band's fanbase, since there are those who only enjoyed the fusion jazz of Spheres and might not find this so interesting. Regardless, it's a fantastic reunion album, one of the best death metal releases I've heard this year so far, and thank fuck that Pestilence is back.
Here’s another band that’s coming back after over fifteen years of silence. Pestilence has their own share of classic releases and their old school fan base to cater to through Resurrection Macabre. The band made a name for itself with a death-thrash attack and a couple of absolutely killer album in the late 80s, early 90s with Consuming Impulse and Testimony of the Ancients. Their last album, Spheres saw them go off in a technical jazz metal route and the album was met with derision from press and public alike and shortly thereafter the band broke up.
Patrick Mameli is the only original member left in the band and he’s joined by Tony Choy on bass and Peter Wildoer (Darkane) on drums. Resurrection Macabre is also the most overtly death metal album from Pestilence and it’s a pretty good come back for the band. The music has changed a bit. The band focuses on lots of death metal riffing that’s pretty groovy. The sound is mostly thick with a heavy bottom end and while Mameli concentrates on belting out some ass kicking riffs, Choy and Wildoer sound like they’re having an absolute blast holding up the rhythm section.
Stand out tracks include album opener Devouring Frenzy with its groovy death metal attack, Synthetic Grotesque which has a repetitive groove and some killer lead playing from Mameli, Neuro Dissonance which is a heavy death metal song and the catchy as fuck Hang Man which reminds me of Mameli and Choy’s C-187 project from 2007.
While the album is pretty good one thing I can’t help complaining about is that some of these riffs sound a bit recycled from Testimony and Spheres and also from C-187 particularly in the last three songs on the album. The biggest mistake the band has made though is in re-recording 3 songs from their classic period with the new line up. These three songs completely blow the preceding eleven new songs out of the water. Just goes to show that while Resurrection Macabre is a pretty good comeback from the band it can’t hold a candle to what the band was doing in its prime. Still, for fans old and new alike, this one is worth checking out and lots of fun. Just don’t expect to get blown away.
Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com
There are two reasons why I decided to write this review: first, to denounce the first ridiculous and totally misleading review posted here, and to express my admiration for one of the greatest comeback releases of the past 10 years. If one claims to be a long-time Pestilence fan, it is beyond me how he would remain calm on his seat, while listening to this, and not mosh around the whole time with tears in his eyes. Because, if one is not able to grasp the brilliance of this record, he must be either deaf, or insane. And, if the guy is apparently not deaf, then he should seriously ponder over his mental state. If he expected some alternative/grunge, or angry groovy post-thrash ala Pantera, or whatever, on a Pestilence comeback album, then he should make his own conclusions which, if correct, lead only to one place: the mental hospital.
What should a COMEBACK release sound like? Since it’s a COMEBACK, then it should capture the essence of the band’s best output. Any of the old veterans who tried to run away from their roots on their new efforts, fell flat on their faces (remember Nuclear Assault’s “Third World Genocide”, or Cancer’s “Spirit in Flames”, or, partially, Artillery’s “B.A.C.K.”). Pestilence were wise enough not to make this stupid mistake.
The other very good thing is that the guys left behind the experimentalism, which made their last full-length of the 90’s “Spheres” a bit hard to get into, although the presence of Tony Choy (also Cynic, Atheist, although he doesn’t take part in the recording of “Spheres”) might throw some into consternation that this would be another avant-garde work. What the band has decided is to stick to the style on their crowning achievement “Testimony of the Ancients”, and this was the very right thing to do. Once the opening riffs from “Devouring Frenzy” hit you, you know that the guys haven’t betrayed you, and this will be exactly what you hoped for: intense technically-charged death metal, the way only Pestilence can play it. The songs are tight and dense, mid to up-tempo, all within the 3-4min range, with only the last “In Sickness and Death” closing on 5-min, and this is where the guys unleash more technical exuberance along the lines of “Stigmatized” and ‘The Presence of the Dead”. The bonus tracks are nothing short of outstanding, elaborating on the complex approach of “In Sickness and Death”, boasting some great technical guitar work. The only minor complaint comes from the remastered version of “Lost Souls”, which is less intense and slower than the original, but is a compelling track nonetheless.
New elements: well, for those who are constantly looking for something new in the old bands’ new releases, I have a pleasant surprise for you: some songs are graced by sparce blast-beats, never heard before on the band’s works, which are a nice touch, by the way, nicely adding to the overall intensity. Some surreal guitar work springs up here and there, which loosely relates the album to “Spheres”, but this technique is not new, and here never turns into abstract, “out there” instrumentalism.
So to sum it up: this is truly a masterpiece, coming very close to “Testimony of the Ancients”, and is exactly what a comeback album should deliver. Needless to say, it will be a sure-handed top ten pick for many fans for 2009. The old fans of the band will by all means rejoice, happy that their favourite band are alive and well, sounding like this 15-year gap had never taken place. The others: if you are not happy with what the band have done, drop them a line with your preferences. Who knows: maybe Patrick Mamell and Co. will decide to play some radio-friendly death’n roll next time. But for now, since “Resurrection Macabre” is a fact, whether you like it or not, cast your criticism aside, relax, and let your spirit guide you, because the spirit never lies. And it will inevitably lead you to the seventh heaven, where you will have dropped dead headbanging! Thumbs up!
It's easy to say this will suck no matter what Mameli does since he once threw away his credibilty. Well, in the eyes of some he actually threw it away three times in a row (first bashing the DM scene, secondly releasing Spheres and then shitting out a weird thingy called C-187) But Pestilence is something from my youth so I gave 'Resurrection Macabre' a chance purely based on sentiment. And I'm glad I did. When hearing this album I don't care much about Mameli's credibility nor personality. I must thank him for bringing back a smile on my face. Something which - supposedly - old school retro bands like Bloodbath cannot.
When I first I heard the news Pestilence were back together and the new material would stylewise be somewhere between Testimony of the Ancients and Spheres I wasn't to happy. Testimony, apart from some really strong songs, has always been a bit too polished for me and I sincerely hate Spheres. Well, I can assure everyone there's none of that jazz crap here. There are some odd chords here and there but hey, those could already be found on Consuming Impulse. No, in fact the album perfectly balances between Consuming Impulse and Testimony of the Ancients with a new element thrown in, namely blast speed drums.
Blast speed drums? Makes me frown. Something new to the Pestilence sound and normally I'm not too fond about such drums expect for grindcore or really typical avant garde stuff like Melt Banana. Peter Wildoer uses them a lot, just like he likes exercising on his double bass pedals, which also is obsolete a lot of times. The over-enthusiastic use of double bass and blast speed in death metal is something often used to compensate for lesser riffs (or entire compositions) as far I'm concerned (with early Morbid Angel being a lone exception). But in this case it does bring the old Pestilence into the new.
There are many good riffs throughout the songs that are recognisably Pestilence ('Synthetic Grotesque' simply rules!). So yes, it's a mixture between their most pure death metal orientated old material with new elements. Cleverly contrived or truly from the heart? I actually don't care, It's sounds like modern Pestilence yet without groovy nineties crap nor jazzy humpty dumpty metal and I quite like it.
Yes, the album could have been a lot better. It sounds too organised and is often lacking in the catchiness-department to compete with the filthy class of Consuming Impulse or the pubescent thrash assault of Malleus Maleficarum. The vocals are adequate (lower than Testimony) and especially good on the three re-recoded classics. But since those are not on the 'regular' album I shan't say anything more about them. And personally I think a lot of blast speed drums could have been left out and replaced by some real old school polka d-beat. Fortunately Wildoer is the only one on 'Resurrection Macabre' being a pretentious musician and I partially forgive him since this is of course the best band he's ever played in and I can understand his urges.
'Resurrection Macabre' is an adequate return to the scene and actually even more enjoyable than Gorefest on 'La Muerte'. But since Gorefest managed to surpass themselves on their second reunion album, the briliant 'Rise to Ruin', I obviously now expect Pestilence to grow as well into their newly found youth and I already can't wait to hear their next record. This first step is good, now for the real class!