Dutch Death Metal outfit Pestilence are a group I'm not all to familiar with. Forming in the mid-eighties they were certainly around at the very start of the scene and I believe they made a name for themselves by diversifying into Technical Death Metal in the nineties, getting a little Progressive and incorporating synthesizers. The electronic sounds are the main takeaway I remember from listening to their early records eons ago. They disbanded in the mid-nineties and reformed in 2008, after another hiatus the group are back with Hadeon, the groups eight full length album.
Firstly you might describe the record as Technical Death Metal, however that term is firmly rooted in the genres origin, akin to bands like Atheist and a far stretch from the dexterity and audacity of modern groups like Beyond Creation. Even the records production aesthetics captures the old spirit, relatively muddy, rounded and its brutality cushioned, its far from being a crisp, clear, cutting edge tonal experience and I really enjoyed that. It fits the music well but most of all "singer" Mameli's guttural groans and aches are a frozen in time slice of how they were performed back in the day.
The record cruises by with an a relatively temperate aggression. Fast rattling blast beats, bursts of dizzying fretwork and bloated groans play up to a brutality that feels out paced by other bands and so it hangs in a curious place where its best lived passages of music flow from the lead guitar solo's and anything that breaks up the monotony of the old style. Astral Projection does this with a rather strange break into eerie, unsettling synths as a robotic voice talks in mechanical rhythm over the music. Its less than a minute but makes the albums most remarkable, odd and fun moment.
That it is the most remarkable moment highlights this records problem, there's not enough spice or flavor about it. It sticks very rigidly to principles decades old and in its defense it executes these ideas really well. Its bread and butter old school technical death! The album sounds great, the music is cohesive but offers precisely nothing unheard of before, with exception to its robotic visitor. The end result just isn't particularly enthralling to me given Ive heard this all before.
Favorite Tracks: Astral Projection, Discarnate Entity