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Creepy crawly black metal with strong melodies - 85%

dalecooper, May 29th, 2008

This seems to be one of those fell-through-the-cracks bands and albums. I never hear them mentioned anywhere, but it's one of my favorite black metal albums.

Much of my high opinion of it is owed to the unusual feeling it gives. It's not exactly grim and frost-bitten. The sound is actually sort of warm, and the music and vocals both have a ghostly, gauzy feeling that envelops you. The effect is both a bit morbid and a bit sleepy, like the band is trying to lull you into closing your eyes before it suffocates you to death (because a regular sacrificial stabbing would be too messy). In less capable hands this approach would make for dull music, but Pestiferous elevates it to art through the use of repetitive but well-crafted melodies, and highly effective doubled vocals. There's even what sounds to my ears like a small amount of post-rock or post-metal influence, in the simple but hypnotic guitar lines used throughout (and used best on the opening track, "Under Locus Mortis"). The band also uses a lot of mid-tempo and rock-derived rhythms rather than falling back on a lot of infernal blasting, which makes the album less intense but suits the basic sound very well.

Most of the tracks here are on equal footing so I would hesitate to pick out highlights, except for the opener, which is the song that first convinced me to buy the album. If you like black metal and are open to an experience that splits the difference between something familiar and something totally new, give this a shot.