PESTILENCE

Death Metal / Thrash Metal / Technical Death Metal • Netherlands
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Pestilence is a death metal band from Enschede, The Netherlands founded in 1986. Later they incorporated more jazz and fusion elements into their music. They released four albums before disbanding in order to pursue other musical directions in 1994. Pestilence reformed, and released the 2009 album 'Resurrection Macabre'.

Pestilence started in the Netherlands in mid 1986 as a thrash metal band. The lineup, consisting of Patrick Mameli (guitar, vocals), Randy Meinhard (guitar), and Marco Foddis (drums), recorded two demos before gaining the attention of Roadrunner Records. After the first demo, Martin van Drunen (bass, vocals) joined them. These two demos - Dysentery (1986) and The Penance (1987) - are raw, sounding mostly like a cross between Possessed and Schizophrenia-era Sepultura. After signing to Roadrunner Records, Pestilence released their debut album titled Malleus Maleficarum in 1988, further refining their approach to thrash metal. The new material was tighter and more
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Thanks to UMUR, tupan, Vim Fuego for the updates

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PESTILENCE Discography

PESTILENCE albums / top albums

PESTILENCE Malleus Maleficarum album cover 3.77 | 18 ratings
Malleus Maleficarum
Thrash Metal 1988
PESTILENCE Consuming Impulse album cover 4.00 | 33 ratings
Consuming Impulse
Death Metal 1989
PESTILENCE Testimony of the Ancients album cover 3.99 | 40 ratings
Testimony of the Ancients
Technical Death Metal 1991
PESTILENCE Spheres album cover 3.95 | 38 ratings
Spheres
Technical Death Metal 1993
PESTILENCE Resurrection Macabre album cover 3.00 | 18 ratings
Resurrection Macabre
Death Metal 2009
PESTILENCE Doctrine album cover 2.87 | 20 ratings
Doctrine
Death Metal 2011
PESTILENCE Obsideo album cover 3.88 | 8 ratings
Obsideo
Death Metal 2013
PESTILENCE Hadeon album cover 3.63 | 10 ratings
Hadeon
Death Metal 2018
PESTILENCE Exitivm album cover 3.61 | 10 ratings
Exitivm
Death Metal 2021
PESTILENCE Levels of Perception album cover 1.75 | 2 ratings
Levels of Perception
Technical Death Metal 2024

PESTILENCE EPs & splits

PESTILENCE live albums

PESTILENCE Chronicles of the Scourge album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Chronicles of the Scourge
Death Metal 2006

PESTILENCE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

PESTILENCE Dysentery album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Dysentery
Thrash Metal 1987
PESTILENCE The Penance album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
The Penance
Thrash Metal 1987

PESTILENCE re-issues & compilations

PESTILENCE Mind Reflections: The Best of Pestilence album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Mind Reflections: The Best of Pestilence
Death Metal 1994
PESTILENCE Two From The Vault album cover 4.17 | 2 ratings
Two From The Vault
Death Metal 2003
PESTILENCE The Dysentery Penance album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
The Dysentery Penance
Thrash Metal 2015

PESTILENCE singles (0)

PESTILENCE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

PESTILENCE Reviews

PESTILENCE Levels of Perception

Album · 2024 · Technical Death Metal
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UMUR
"Levels of Perception" is the tenth full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Agonia Records in April 2024. It features twelve re-recordings of tracks which have appeared on some of the band´s earlier releases. Not all preceding albums are represented (there are no re-recordings of tracks from "Malleus Maleficarum" (1988) or from "Spheres" (1994)), but all other Pestilence studio albums are represented with at least one track each...

...and the tracklist is up for debate. It seems a bit odd to me, why Pestilence would chose to re-record no less than four tracks from their last album "Exitivm". Re-recordings are usually done to show how a current version of a group plays older classic material, but it seems Pestilence had another vision with "Levels of Perception". "Consuming Impulse" (1989) and "Testimony of the Ancients" (1991) are represented by two tracks each (I guess they didn´t dare leave out "Out of the Body") but that´s the only pre-reformation material featured on "Levels of Perception". It´s not that Pestilence more current material isn´t decent, but it just seems a bit strange to re-record material from 2021 on a 2024 release.

When that is said, there are unfortunately much, much worse things to say about "Levels of Perception" which is through and through a horrible release. I can´t call it anything else than an abomination and a terrible misstep in the discography of Pestilence. The material is what it is, but the performances and some of the new arrangements are tame and uninspired. Honestly it almost made me cry listening to the re-recordings of "Twisted Truth" and "Out of the Body", which are two of my absolute favorite Pestilence tracks, both of which are butchered here (Patrick Mameli how could you?).

But the performances and the weak vocals from Mameli aren´t even the worst here...it´s the production values. The drums were recorded live at one studio in 2021 and everything else was overdubbed at other studios during the next couple of years. Many artists have made live recordings of drums in the studio and have gotten great results from it, but that can´t be said about the drums on "Levels of Perception", which sound like they were recorded at a rehearsal space (and not at a studio like they are) using an old fashioned four-track tape recorder. This is demo quality sound production values. And it´s not just the drums. The guitars feature an odd high end tone which is grating on the ears, Mameli´s voice is distorted and you can´t always make out the words he sings (which usually isn´t an issue on Pestilence albums), and the bass is completely disconnected from the rest of the instruments in the mix...and bass player Joost van der Graaf often sounds like he is playing another song than the rest of the members of the band.

A pretty harsh critique, which I´m not happy to deliver since Pestilence have long been some of my heroes, but I have to call it like I see it. Honesty and full disclosure. Pestilence have some work to do, to drag themselves back from this disaster. Their next album better be the best album they have released since reforming in 2008 or they may find themselves a fan or two short. You don´t come back from something like this without some careful consideration and reflection in terms of what went wrong, and what should we never do again...a 1.5 star (30%) rating is warranted. I´m tempted to give an even lower rating, but I´m trying to be fair and at least give Pestilence some sort of credit for existing, but there really isn´t much to give them credit for after listening to this album.

PESTILENCE Exitivm

Album · 2021 · Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Dutch metal outfit Pestilence are back with their ninth studio album, although there has been a significant line-up change since 2018’s ‘Hadeon’ with only founder guitarist and singer Patrick Mameli still there. Over the years there have been a few musicians through the ranks, but he has been the constant, and is now joined by Joost van der Graaf (bass), Rutger van Noordenburg (guitars), and Michiel van der Plicht (drums). Due to the pandemic, Pestilence were unable to fully capitalise on the last album, and it was this which caused the other members of the band to quit, but Mameli decided to go the other way and write something darker and heavier and bring together new musicians to fulfill his vision.

Pestilence were initially formed in 1986, although they took a break in 1994 before being resurrected in 2008, then stopping again in 2014 before kicking off again a few years later. It’s not possible to keep a good band down apparently. Over the years they have been through different musical styles, always very heavy, and with this release they are focusing on technical death metal with complex rhythms and patterns throughout. Michiel is an animal behind the kit, utilising double kick pedals and complex rolls when the time is right, while at others being more straightforward and even having micro breaks if that is what is needed to emphasise what is happening in front of him. Rutger is an accomplished lead guitarist who enjoys taking the solos when the opportunity arises but for the most part this is about two guitars and a bass being totally linked while Mameli gruffly provides the vocals.

There is a strong sense of dynamics throughout the album, with little effects being used here and there to allow the music to always stay heavy and not fall into the background. The result is a death metal album which may not be totally essential but is a damn good listen all the same. 

PESTILENCE Exitivm

Album · 2021 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Exitivm" is the 9th full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Agonia Records in June 2021. It´s the successor to "Hadeon" from 2018 and it features an almost completely different lineup to the lineup who recorded the predecessor. The only remaining member, who also performed on "Hadeon (2018)" is lead vocalist/guitarist Patrick Mameli.

Stylistically the music is technical/progressive death metal and as such a continuation of the sound the band have had on the last couple of album. It´s a bit more direct and aggressive maybe, but other than that the listener is treated to the usual death/thrashy riffs (often dissonant), powerful driving drumming (maybe a bit too much use of the double bass drums), blistering jazz/fusion influenced guitar solos, atmospheric keyboards, and the snarling semi-growling vocals of lead vocalist/guitarist Patrick Mameli in front. There´s no mistaking that it´s Pestilence you´re listening to. Pestilence incorporate recognisable elements from both "Testimony of the Ancients (1991)" and "Spheres (1993)" (the band´s third and fourth full-length studio albums), but have wisely chosen to twist those elements and make them part of the 2021 sound of Pestilence to not become a retrospective clone of themselves.

The songwriting is relatively strong throughout "Exitivm", although some ideas and riff styles are maybe used a bit too much. The almost constant use of dissonance can also be distracting and sometimes I just wish they would play more "straight" power chords and notes and leave out some of the dissonance. "Exitivm" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the music well, and upon conclusion "Exitivm" is a high quality release by Pestilence. As you may have guessed from the above, it´s not a perfect relase to my ears, but praise has to go out to Pestilence for continuing to have a distinct musical style. A few more memorable hooks would have made the album even stronger though. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

PESTILENCE Consuming Impulse

Album · 1989 · Death Metal
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Unitron
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.

PESTILENCE Mind Reflections: The Best of Pestilence

Boxset / Compilation · 1994 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Mind Reflections" is a compilation album by Dutch progressive death metal act Pestilence. The compilation was released through Roadrunner Records in 1994. Pestilence were formed in 1986, released two demos in 1987, and their debut full-length studio album "Malleus Maleficarum" in 1988. The band´s early releases (including the demos) were brutal thrash metal or early examples of death metal oriented thrash, but their second full-length studio album "Consuming Impulse (1989)", saw Pestilence play a more pure death metal oriented style (but still with thrash metal traits shining through).

With the departure of lead vocalist/bassist Martin Van Drunen in 1990, Pestilence shifted their focus towards a more technically challenging and progressive oriented death metal style on their third full-length studio album "Testimony of the Ancients (1991)" (where guitarist Patrick Mameli took over the vocal duties). They took the deep plunge with "Spheres (1993)" though, which featured an atmospheric jazz/fusion influenced progressive death metal style, so it´s safe to say the first 8 years of the band´s career saw them develop and change their sound between each release. They disbanded in 1994 and as if often happens when artists disband and still owe their label more releases in their contract, a compromise is made and either a live album or a compilation album is released. I´m putting my money on little to no band involvement on this compilation release.

"Mind Reflections" is actually part best-of compilation and part unreleased live and rarities compilation, as the album features selections from all four above mentioned studio albums, the track "Hatred Within", which was recorded in 1988 and featured on the Roadrunner Records 1988 "Teutonic Invasion Part Two" compilation, but not originally featured on the contemporary "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)" (some later reissues features the track as bonus material), and six tracks recorded live at The Dynamo Open Air Festival, Eindhoven, Holland in June 1992.

The live tracks aren´t particularly well produced, and as a result seem a bit redundant on a compilation release. "Hatred Within" isn´t the most interesting track from the early days of Pestilence, and outside being a rarity, doesn´t bring much to the table. The studio album selections can always be discussed, but except for the fact that only "Mind Reflections" is featured from "Spheres (1993)", the tracks from the studio albums are a fairly good representation of Pestilence´s sound and development in the period. "Parricide" and "Subordinate to the Domination" were chosen from "Malleus Maleficarum (1988)", and both are definitely some of the better tracks off that release, and the listener is also treated to classics like "Out of the Body" and "Twisted Truth", from the next two albums, so the studio album track selection isn´t bad at all.

Pestilence reunited again in 2008 and began releasing studio albums again, so if "Mind Reflections" was originally meant to mark the end of the band´s career, it doesn´t anymore. Upon conclusion I´ve listened to both better and worse compilation albums, and this one sits in the middle, with both some good track selections from the various studio albums, but also a relatively uninteresting rarity track, and some not very well sounding live tracks. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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