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PESTILENCE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Netherlands


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Pestilence picture
Pestilence biography
Founded in Enschede, Netherlands in 1986 - Disbanded in 1994 - Reformed between 2008-2013 and again in 2016

They started off in 1986 as a thrash metal band in 1986 before moving into death metal territory in 1989 with their classic death metal release 'Consuming Impulse' drawing critical acclaim.

The album that helped reshape the death metal genre, though, was their seminal 1993 album "Spheres", melding elements of jazz fusion, death metal and prog they created a unique brand of progressive metal.

After the release of spheres the band were unable to agree on which direction their music should take and broke up shortly after in 1994 so the members could focus on their own bands.

Recently, there has been a live release from the band in 2006, "Chronicles of the Scourge".

(Thanks to Richard (FruMp) for the artist information and bio.)

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
PESTILENCE incorporated jazz/fusion elements to their highly technical brand of death/thrash metal, very much in the same vein as bands like CYNIC.

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PESTILENCE discography


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PESTILENCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.92 | 24 ratings
Malleus Maleficarum
1988
3.17 | 43 ratings
Consuming Impulse
1989
3.77 | 55 ratings
Testimony Of The Ancients
1991
4.17 | 110 ratings
Spheres
1993
1.94 | 24 ratings
Resurrection Macabre
2009
2.72 | 16 ratings
Doctrine
2011
3.85 | 15 ratings
Obsideo
2013
3.14 | 9 ratings
Hadeon
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Exitivm
2021

PESTILENCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Chronicles of the Scourge
2006

PESTILENCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PESTILENCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.63 | 4 ratings
Mind Reflections
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Two from the Vault
2003
3.02 | 3 ratings
The Dysentery Penance
2015

PESTILENCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 5 ratings
Dysentery (Demo)
1987
2.98 | 5 ratings
The Penance (Demo)
1987

PESTILENCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.17 | 110 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by dougmcauliffe

5 stars This is a record that I haven't been able to put down since I first heard it. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that I'm just going to play the first few songs and try something new, but every single time without failure I just have to play this guy start to finish. The atmosphere and intensity of this record is something that really stands out about it, the death growls sounds fantastic here and there's a great contrast within the short and sweet track listing. The riffs and grooves across this record are instantly memorable, and there's plenty of heavy keys to accompany the windy riffage.

This is a record that holds no punches, it takes off running instantly with the aggressive and driving Mind Reflections. There's an awesome instrumental breakdown/guitar solo passage halfway through. Running at a mere three and a half minutes, it feels like there's so much packed into this song and that's gonna be a common theme you see across this record. Multiple Beings follows that up keeping that momentum, this track almost has some of those nasty Kevin Moore organ tones, yet this record predates Awake by a year which is what I really have in mind while hearing it. The hook of this song starting around 1:20 is so mesmerizing to me, the guitar riff is so off-kilter and hypnotic. Once again the instrumental passages are extremely well developed and simply put, creative! The following track The Level of Perception is one of my favorites for sure. Super heavy and unrelenting, the riff that kicks in at the 0:22 second mark is unbelievably cool, but its really the unconventional and frantic instrumental switch up half way through that sends this track into the stratosphere for me. Following this is the short and eerie instrumental Aurian Eyes, I love these brief instrumental interludes throughout. For one I think its sort of bold and balsy to include in the context of the scene and the albums they were coming off of, but on top of that I genuinely think they add a lot to the record on all fronts.

After this seriously impressive opening, the waves just keep on rushing in with Soul Search. Another super aggressive track with some more sweet accompanying keys. This one gives me some Death vibes with some very explosive guitar soloing within the latter half. However, the next track Personal Energy absolutely blows my socks off, I just cannot stress how unique and brilliant this track is. It almost has some Pink Floyd vibes to the instrumental, but there's some really strong elements of Jazz Fusion at the forefront of this song as well. The thing that mostly blows my mind here is the vocal delivery, this is not a song I could even fathom placing death growls on top of, but against all odds is works gloriously. I just can't praise it enough. Towards the end it takes off into orbit with a beautiful jazzy synth solo that smoothly builds and gently eases right back into the main hook seemingly effortlessly. Coming off of this the short meditative interlude of Voices From Within which works splendidly.

Up next is the kick-ass title track flipping the death metal switch back on. The chugging guitar riffage that starts at 1:50 gets me every time, I love those spooky dissonant synths that come in on top of it. The ending of this song has a very unexpectedly shreddy synth solo and it's additions like this that add so much personality to this record. The next song Changing Perspectives has a very doomy and distressed sounding intro, it really sounds like the world is ending. Some of the tones sort of have that middle eastern sitar sort of sound to it and it just comes through sounding so menacing. I can't even describe what happens at 2:19, the guitar just lets loose and it feels like the song begins melting around me. The final short instrumental interlude Phileas works once again very well in the context of the record, it gives me the vibe of a safe room before the final boss, which in many ways that's what it is. Is has a feeling of being towards the end of the line, as if closure is right on the horizon. Demise of Time is the closer and it always leaves me feeling so completely satisfied. My favorite section begins at 1:35 where it kicks into this filthy riff, but it only gets better as it kicks into this obscenely cool groove. The album ends, and I always feel like I was just taken on a journey through an otherworldly hellish place, with glistens of light shining through the cracks.

This album has blown me away from my first listen and it's become not only one of my favorite metal albums, but one of my favorite albums of any genre or style, period. 5 Stars, and essential of progressive death metal/technical death metal.

 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.17 | 110 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Frenetic Zetetic

5 stars Ladies and gentleman: THIS IS ESSENTIAL JAZZ FUSION METAL LISTENING.

1993 was a hell of a year for progressive extreme technical metal, with bands like Pestilence, Cynic, Death, and Atheist all taking it to new levels in different directions, simultaneously. The year is packed with gems. This is far and away one of them.

If you find yourself a fan of Return to Forever, Alan Holdsworth, Weather Report, or electric period Miles Davis in any aspect whatsoever - there is considerable gold here for you. This review isn't going to be a typical song by song analysis, but rather a slightly different take on why this usually-dismissed recording is actually a very good representation of the highest forms of novelty and experimentation taken in the genre. It transcends typical death metal without losing any of that resolution and intensity of the signal, while somehow making a genuinely scary sounding guitar-synth heavy sci-fi sounding album at the same time.

First, a brief personal history with the album. I acquired an original 1993 Roadrunner Records pressing of this album, back in approximately 2007. Being that this review is written in 2020, it's funny to think I got said disc at the midway point of my relationship WITH it. That means I've had plenty of time spinning this disc - often several times in a single sitting (car rides to and from band practices over the years)!

This album divides listeners, especially those that consider themselves diehard fans of brutal music. I think it's a shame to dismiss the experimental gymnastics occurring on this record, because the songwriting and consistency absolutely commits 100% to what it's setting out to achieve.

I'd argue that it's such a divisive recording precisely because it hammers the archetypal elements of these genres down, so much so, that any listener coming from a strictly-metal background won't know what to make of it. Usually, a negative response is garnered due to the synth guitar effects (which just sound like a good Roland Jupiter synth with modulation anyway), or the often labeled "lifeless" guitar tone. Yes, I'm arguing that all of these things took early 90's technical death metal in a very unique direction, equal to both Cynic "Focus" and Atheist "Unquestionable Presence".

I will close my review by mentioning I was at one point in daily communication with Patrick Mameli of Pestilence - I was their web administrator from 2012-2018. He was very patient answering all my fan boi questions about the album! Again, this is essential jazz fusion metal. Get it now!

 Hadeon by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.14 | 9 ratings

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Hadeon
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Hadeon" is the 8th full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Hammerheart Records in March 2018. It's been 5 years since the release of "Obsideo (2013)" and from the interviews with band leader/guitarist/lead vocalist Patrick Mameli I've read in the intermediate years, it sounded like he had once again put Pestilence on hold. This time to concentrate on his new project Neuromorph, but apparently Mameli has changed his mind because we've heard nothing from Neuromorph as of yet, and here we have another Pestilence album. Since the release of the predecessor Mameli has changed the entire lineup except for himself. Guitarist Patrick Uterwijk has been replaced by Santiago Dobles (Council of the Fallen, Aghora, Cynic), drummer David Haley has been replaced by Septimiu Hărşan, and bassist George Maier has been replaced by Tilen Hudrap.

Stylistically little has changed since the predecessor (and the one before that) as Pestilence still play technical/progressive death metal and they still sound unmistakably like themselves (major lineup changes or not). The tracks are maybe slightly more catchy and immediate than the material on the two relatively similar sounding predecessors, but it's not a major change of sound. The number of sharp and powerful death/thrash riffs and rhythms have increased though and the use of dissonance and progressive ideas have decreased some. Listening to a track like "Astral Projection", which features an atmospheric section with a spacey vocoder voice, it's obvious that Pestilence still are a progressive oriented death metal act. The many jazz/fusion type guitar solos and occasional dissonant riffs point in that direction too. Mameli's intelligible death/thrash growling is the same as always. He has a fairly distinct sounding voice and vocal style.

"Hadeon" is a well produced, powerful, and detailed sounding album, and the sound production suits the material perfectly. The whole thing reeks an odd spiritual abstract sci-fi atmosphere. An atmosphere which is further enhanced by the lyrics and song titles like "Non Physical Existent", "Multi Dimensional", and "Layers of Reality". Upon conclusion "Hadeon" is another high quality release to the Pestilence name, and while this one (and the other post-2000 Pestilence releases) aren't quite as groundbreaking as the late 80s/early 90s releases by the band, they still prove that Pestilence are relevant and can produce quality music. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.17 | 110 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars YES and YES again!This album is a milestone in thrash music!It's very complex,it's innovative,courageous and rich in it's musical expression!That's the ultimate prove how thrash/death music can be enriched with new ways of expression by some very competent musicians which have the purpose to explore new territories in music!It's something that can be called jazzy fusion death thrash metal wit a twist!The sound is very unusual,it's like space metal with great intermezzos and an totally bizarre approach for thrash/death metal in that times!Young ambitious bands like CYNIC...ATHEIST....DEATH were trying to bring in music the technical aspect,combining the impressive technical skills of the musicians with the brutality of the music made!The vocals are still a difficult to dig aspect of the music,but the music itself is brilliant ,amazing sometimes!That's the king of album which will never sound old and dusty!It's atemporal and timeless and will be forever considered like a milestone album in the history of music,for it's innovative aspect!5 stars for the originality and courage to break musical barriers!
 Consuming Impulse by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.17 | 43 ratings

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Consuming Impulse
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 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.

 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.17 | 110 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pestilence radically changed up their sound on this release, launching themselves into the deep end of the sort of technical jazz death metal that Cynic and Atheist were also experimenting in at the time. They actually acquit themselves rather well, though I can see how this may be a jarring release for some people - even though the preceding Testimony of the Ancients was quite technical, it was nowhere near as avant-garde as this, and that may put off some listeners. Still, it's entirely worth it to get another entry in this small little jazz-death subgenre, and in retrospect Pestilence should be glad they undertook this experiment.
 The Dysentery Penance by PESTILENCE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.02 | 3 ratings

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The Dysentery Penance
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars

PESTILENCE - The Dysentery Penance

OK, class! It's time to do some math today. What do we get when we add:

PESTILENCE - The Dysentery (Demo)

and

PESTILENCE - The Penance (Demo)

Well, PESTILENCE - THE DYSENTERY PENANCE, of course

This album is as simple as that. This is nothing more than a remastered compilation of the band's first two demos PLUS two live tracks which includes "Before The Penance" and "Fight The Plague."

See reviews for the two demos separately. The two live tracks are of inferior quality and don't warrant investigation unless you're a diehard collector who wants to own everything the band has done. While not essential by any means, this is the only way to obtain the band's two demos in a remastered form and on CD. Decent but not OMG brilliant at this point

 The Penance (Demo) by PESTILENCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.98 | 5 ratings

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The Penance (Demo)
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars THE PENANCE is the second demo by Dutch thrash masters PESTILENCE released shortly after their first. While the instrumentalists remained the same, the band found a new member exclusively dedicated to vocal duties. Martin van Drunen helps the band step it up a little bit beyond the generic sounding "Dysentery." Sounding a little more seasoned THE PENANCE is still very much rooted in late 80s thrash metal. It has the classic Metallica influenced guitar riffing. In fact "Before The Penance" at times sounds waaaaaaay too close to "For Whom The Bells Toll." Well, at least they had great heroes to worship. That said, the band deliver a more brutal approach to thrash metal on THE PENANCE and an obvious gateway to death metal.

Once again though, despite the progress in their development, PESTILENCE still sounds like an odd mix of early Metallica songwriting, Motorhead inspired punk attitude and some Exodus features as in the vocal phrasings, Slayer and Possessed type brutality. Yes, they stand out a bit with the new singer but ultimately this still sounds like a hodgepodge of metal ingredients sewn together and not properly boiled down into a broth. Pretty much for enthusiasts and not something that will make your stars aligned if you haven't experienced the thrash metal universe as of yet. Still though, not a bad demo. The production is much better than "Dysentery."

 Dysentery (Demo) by PESTILENCE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.51 | 5 ratings

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Dysentery (Demo)
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

2 stars Raw and unfettered Dutch thrash masters PESTILENCE hit the ground running in 1986 and recorded a couple demos and caught the attention of Roadrunner Records. DYSTENTERY is the first of these demos. Up to date only Patrick Mameli (guitar and vocals sometimes) has been in the band telling me that this is his creation and for better and worse has continued on throughout the thrash history of the last few decades. DYSENTERY is a fast and furious brutal thrash release from the era. It incorporates the speed demon worship of Possessed and a dirty hellish sound of early Sepultura. There is also the inevitable thrash influences from early Metallica in the riff department. I'm also detecting a rather early Exodus vocal delivery system.

Unfortunately i became acquainted with the magic world of PESTILENCE groundbreaking progressive metal album "Spheres" and nothing before quite measures up. This sounds like very generic thrash metal in its infancy, well in PESTILENCE's infancy. Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer had already produced much better metal concoctions at this point. This is a great one for the hardcore fans but not really something anyone else would seek out unless you're totally curious as have been i. In short, well played filthy raw thrash metal demo quality material from the 80s. Nothing more. Oh yeah, the production sucks too if you care about that crap.

 Testimony Of The Ancients by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.77 | 55 ratings

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Testimony Of The Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Not quite as progressive as some of the material they would produce later, Pestilence's Testimony of the Ancients is still a technical metal tour de force which manages to hit a fine balance between brutality and technical finesse. Alternating between more developed pieces and brief, curious little instrumentals, the album offers up a somewhat more pristine and clean-sounding production than is typical for death metal of this era, but I think that really brings out the more subtle nuances of what Pestilence are trying to do here. The overall impression given is less of a brutal, aggressive bellow of rage and more like a panicked rant, which fits the lyrical themes nicely.
Thanks to The T for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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