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Testimony of the Moderns - 85%

bayern, February 8th, 2019

Cheers all around! The band’s second creative period has equalled the first one in terms of productivity with the album reviewed here… Yeah… No ovations over there? No applause? You’re not sharing my excitement; no? Well, I guess I understand you to an extent as quality-wise this reformation stint by all means leaves something to be desired. On the other hand, we have to admit that Patrick Mameli hasn’t exactly put a foot wrong anywhere, either, his comeback campaign easily one of the five finest ones in the new millennium… cause come on, we can’t let dreams and fantasies of another “Testimony of the Ancients” or “Consuming Impulse II” cloud the entertainment the latter offered in heaps on this opus here as well.

I personally refused, a long time ago, to be a neurotic, capricious “slave” to more or less justified expectations about how a reformed veteran should sound based on past glories. If a Bay-Area thrash-oriented outfit, for instance, decides to rip off Ministry’s “AmeriKKKant” on the reunion effort so be it… it doesn’t mean that we have to listen to it if we don’t like it... the chagrin can easily be washed away with hundreds of other, more suitable to our ears, recordings; the choices are infinite, literally.

There’s not much that beggars to be washed away from these past four Pestilence affairs, truth be told. Mameli and his ever-changing team continue riding the crest of the wave without permanently stationing themselves on top of it. I emitted a big sigh of relief once the third track passed; I don’t know why I thought that Mameli would be alternating one “back to the roots” album (“Resurrection Мacabre”) with one more experimental one (“Doctrine”), and since “Obsideo” was the equivalent to the former, the opus here had to be the mutated oddity…

No, it’s not; in fact, it sounds so close to the preceding odyssey that both efforts may have been recorded at the same time and then split into two parts. It may not sound like the best deal in the world, but those who enjoyed the concrete non-fussy delivery of “Obsideo” will spend another pretty exciting 40-min with Mameli and his crew. The more urgent thrashy veneer of the first few cuts will also remind of the debut quite a bit save for the modern production qualities which scream “new technologies!” but not exactly at the top of their lungs. The latter are particularly useful for the respites from the hyper-active fiesta like the creepy minimalistic “Oversoul”, for example, which is a tad more dynamic and volatile to qualify for “Spheres”. Other futuristic additives like the computerized recitals on “Astral Projection” and the more mechanistic stiffer chugs on “Manifestations” are other stopovers from the freighter worth mentioning, but Mameli is intent on generating those as mere digressions from the speedy riff-fest although to these ears the highlight here is the sinister atmospheric mid-pacer “Ultra Demons” the band meticulously weaving these fascinating, minimalistic rifforamas without necessarily charging ahead on full-throttle.

Initially I thought that this last cut had impressed me so much cause it was different from the rest, but 5/6 more listens down the line I still find it the best… a possible influence from “Spheres” which I have been listening to quite a bit in the past few weeks? I’m not sure, and I wouldn’t advise Mameli to stick to this particular creepy delivery for the construction of a whole album, not at this time anyway. The man delivers just as well by moshing restlessly, the impetuous modern thrash/deathy parade invariably receiving its more technical baptism, but nothing overtly intricate goes on for most of the time; it’s one compact digested pummelling that we have witnessed here once again, and the world seems a very good place to live because of that.

I’m not sure how I would feel personally if the man votes to produce an epitaph to the “Obsideo/Hadeon/…” trilogy the eventual last piece designed in a similar manner to those two. I’d be definitely moshing around, banging my head affirmatively… whether I’d be held enraptured by another display of Mameli’s creative genius… well, let’s first hear what he will come up with next! As long as it’s not another dispassionate robotic “doctrine”…