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3.88 | 27 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1989

Filed under Death Metal


1. Dehydrated (3:07)
2. The Process of Suffocation (2:41)
3. Suspended Animation (3:28)
4. The Trauma (3:20)
5. Chronic Infection (3:57)
6. Out of the Body (4:39)
7. Echoes of Death (4:15)
8. Deify Thy Master (4:52)
9. Proliferous Souls (2:07)
10. Reduced to Ashes (4:52)

Total Time: 37:22


- Patrick Mameli / Guitar, Bass
- Patrick Uterwijk / Guitar
- Martin Van Drunen / Vocals
- Marco Foddis / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Roadrunner Records, December 25th, 1989

European release: 1990, January 9th.

Reissued with "Testimony of The Ancients" as a part of Roadrunner's "From The Vault" series. (2 CDs).

Thanks to UMUR, Unitron for the updates


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Anxious, disturbing, manic.

Never has any album invoked real horror and anxiety more than Pestilence's Consuming Impulse. Instrumentally, it's an incredible album with fantastic hooks, thrashing rage, screaming solos, and all that is essential to death metal. Out of the Body and Reduced to Ashes especially have absolutely crushing grooves. However, the vocals are what takes it to a whole new level of what death metal can be.

On every song, every vocal, Martin van Drunen sounds like he's screaming for his life and there's nobody there to save him from all the torment. Dehydrated is about dying in a barren desert, The Trauma is self-explanatory, Out of the Body seems to be about having your body infested with parasites, Chronic Infection about having an incurable disease, and Echoes of Death is probably the most emotionally powerful song about death I've ever heard.

This is truly a one-of-a-kind album, and is one of the most passionate performances I've ever heard. It's a shame Pestilence were never able to make anything like it again, but they really couldn't do it without Drunen.
Whereas their debut album had offered a death-tinged take on thrash metal, Pestilence's followup Consuming Impulse showcases them playing a thrashy style of death metal. Those who are especially fond of Pestilence's more technical or progressive takes on the genre, as on Testimony of the Ancients or Spheres, ought to be aware that you really won't find many hints of that here, since this is much more of a straight-ahead death metal album.

To an extent Pestilence could be accused of having followed various bandwagons, at least for the early phases of their career; they debuted with thrash metal in an era when thrash was king, then here they put out some death metal to tie in with the rise of that, then they went technical because that's what was getting fashionable in death metal circles, then they followed Cynic and Atheist into the jazz-death realm, and so on. Certainly, there is no shortage of death metal albums which sound a bit like this one, but it's still a reasonably good example of that style.
Vim Fuego

Fuck, this was more than slightly disturbing on first listen all those years ago! Such was the anguish and pain in Martin Van Drunen's voice as he squeezed out these strangled words; it was almost possible to believe there was a colony of er… cockroaches or maggots living inside him. It put the shits up me anyway!

In 'Consuming Impulse', Pestilence created their greatest, most complete album, successfully marrying the primitive brutality of their previous effort 'Maleus Maleficarum' with the technicality of their later releases.

While this was Pestilence's second album, the band was still constantly learning about dynamics and how to play their instruments. This album predates the blast beat cliché, but Pestilence could hit the turbocharger when needed, judiciously using faster passages, accenting the mid–paced sections. This was incredibly heavy for its time, as guitarists Patrick Mameli and Patrick Uterwijk had developed a technique playing in tandem where they would let a chord ring on at the end of a riff, creating some chunky harmonics as the guitar sounds merged. Not being a musician, I don't know if this is a technically accurate description of what they were doing, but as a death metal fan, I do know it makes your ring piece tingle!

Lyrically, Pestilence showed a good grasp of English for a Dutch band, but a lack of imagination in subject matter. They fell back on the trusty old faithfuls of gore, God, and doing nasty things to people. The previously mentioned "Out Of The Body" and lead off track "Dehydration" are probably the most convincingly executed. The instrumental "Proliferous Souls" is unusual in that it is not the normal acoustic guitar mood piece, instead staying fully electric and conjuring up images of spirits drifting in the wind across the landscape in search of a final resting place.

Martin Van Drunen later left the band to front the far less complex Asphyx, while Pestilence took the space cadet/ultra technical jazz/prog direction. This is both Pestilence and Van Drunen at their best.
"Consuming Impulse" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released in the US through Roadrunner Records in December 1989 (on Christmas day no less) while Europe had to wait until January 1990 for their fix of brutality. The band´s debut album "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)" is quite a raw and brutal thrash metal release, but it´s on "Consuming Impulse" the band step fully into death metal territory...

...there are still nods toward thrash metal like on most early death metal releases but the absolutely bestial growling vocals courtesy of vocalist Martin Van Drunen effectively erase any doubt that this isn´t a fullblown death metal release. Van Drunen is one of most distinct sounding growling vocalists on the scene. While his vocal style certainly is both brutal and at times deep (yet still intelligible), he has a desperate hysterical edge to his delivery that you don´t hear very often. People often have a "love him or hate him" type relationship with him because of his vocal style, but I think his vocals are one of the things that set early Pestilence apart from other death metal acts from that time.

The instrumental part of the music is tight and raw (but at times surprisingly sophisticated). New lead guitarist Patrick Uterwijk (who replaced Randy Meinhard after the release of "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)". Meinhard went on to form Sacrosanct) has brought a new dimension to the band´s music although we´re still for the most part talking screaming whammy bar abuse and generally fast paced soloing. The material are consistent in quality, catchy and well written and the 37:24 minutes of playing time fly by in no time. As all tracks are great it´s hard to pick highlights but the über brutal "Out of the Body" does stand out as something special to my ears. One of the "classic" death metal tracks from the early years of death metal and of course a classic in the band´s repetoire too. "The Trauma" is a personal favorite of mine and could be mentioned as a highlight too.

"Consuming Impulse" is packed in a powerful and raw sound production that suits the music perfectly. So just about everything work in the band´s favor on "Consuming Impulse" and it is rightfully considered a seminal European death metal release by many. A 4 star (80%) is deserved.
Time Signature
Out of the body...

Genre: death metal

A favorite among many death metal fans, "Consuming Impulse" is more of a run-of-the-mill death metal release, but it is not bad, and the Pestilence trademark compact tense riffs are there. There are traces of Pestilence's old thrash metal roots, which are more dominant on "Malleus Maleficarum", and combined with the death metal style, they contribute some energy and intensity to the music, but also document the genre's general transition from thrash metal to death metal.

So, in that historical context, "Consuming Impulse" is a quite interesting death metal album, but in itself, I think it is okay, but nothing special. There are a lot of cool guitar riffs scattered all over the album, which is a sort of sign of things to come, as compact and intense riffs would later become one of the band's fortes.

This album does not feature Patrick Mameli on vocals but rather Martin van Drunen. Interestingly, I am not a big fan of the vocals on this album either, and they actually strike me as being more annoying than on subsequent Pestilence releases. Normally, I get used to the vocals on Pestilence releases after some time, but not on this one, for some reason.

Certainly, it is a classic and belongs in any death metal collection!

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