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PESTILENCE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Netherlands


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Pestilence biography
Pestilence are a Death metal band originating from the Netherlands.

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.



Discography:
Malleus Malleficarum, studio album (1988)
Consuming Impulse, studio album (1989)
Testimony of the Ancients, studio album (1991)
Spheres, studio album (1993)
Mind Reflections, compilation (1994)
Chronicles of the Scourge, live (2006)
...

Pestilence official website

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PESTILENCE Videos (YouTube and more)


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Testimony of the Ancients by Pestilence (Cassette, Jul-1991, Roadrunner Records) USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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PESTILENCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

2.80 | 18 ratings
Malleus Maleficarum
1988
2.98 | 32 ratings
Consuming Impulse
1989
3.70 | 43 ratings
Testimony of the Ancients
1991
4.06 | 83 ratings
Spheres
1993
1.92 | 22 ratings
Resurrection Macabre
2009
2.71 | 14 ratings
Doctrine
2011
3.75 | 13 ratings
Obsideo
2013

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)

2.68 | 3 ratings
Mind Reflections
1994
4.00 | 1 ratings
Two from the Vault
2003
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Dysentery Penance
2015

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

2.90 | 2 ratings
Dysentery (Demo)
1987
2.90 | 2 ratings
The Penance (Demo)
1987

PESTILENCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Dysentery Penance by PESTILENCE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.00 | 1 ratings

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The Dysentery Penance
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars "The Dysentery Penance" is a compilation album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Pestilence. The compilation was released through Vic Records in November 2015. Itīs a compilation of the material from the bandīs two pre-album demo cassette tapes "Dysentery" and "The Penance" (both originally released in 1987), and two live tracks recorded in Eibergen in 1988. Both live tracks appear in their studio version on "The Penance" demo. The material on the 10 track, 41:35 minutes long demo has been remastered by Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios.

Pestilence is mostly known as a death metal act, and later a technical/progressive death metal act, but on these early demos they played a raw type of thrash metal, which sounds like itīs greatly influenced by "Hell Awaits (1985)"-era Slayer and artists like Sodom and Kreator. So basically old school thrash metal in the brutal and aggressive end of the scale.

The 4 tracks from the "Dysentery" demo are relatively simple, predominantly fast-paced, and aggressive thrash metal tracks, while the 4 tracks (one is a short intro) from "The Penance" demo are slightly more advanced, but still old school raw and aggressive thrash metal. While itīs both raw, brutal, and aggressive there are only few nods toward death metal on the demos. The death metal elements are mostly heard on the tracks from "The Penance". The two live tracks feature a raw bootleg type sound quality and are not the most interesting material on the compilation. The material from both studio demos is relatively well produced considering that itīs thrash metal demo material from 1987. The remaster sound is a little more "polished" and well defined, than the sound on the original cassette tape demos.

So "The Dysentery Penance" is a bit of a mixed bag but if youīre interested in the early beginnings of death metal and raw 80s thrash metal in general Iīve heard worse releases in the genre. Especially the material from "The Penance" is worth a listen. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

 Testimony of the Ancients  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.70 | 43 ratings

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Testimony of the Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars Review n' 234

Behold... Pestilence found a keyboardist!!!

The late 80s/early 90s were very important to the acceptance of the extreme metal music towards the progressive rock fans, adding technical, progressive and fusion tendencies to the most brutal bands. There were a wide range of bands already playing progressive metal without a 10-20 minutes epic (ex. Monstrosity), but, as you can see/hear, most of death metal bands uses technical riffage and unusual/complex song structure, bearing the "progressive" in it's meaning without being recognized as prog if the tracks aren't lenghty enough. Fortunatelly there were some records to apply the lacking fanservice elements to a regular prog listener, like Pestilence did with Testimony of The Ancients: similar to Edge of Sanity early releases, this album is still pure death metal (different than the next record Spheres, which felt down into proggy prog metal), although it had the power to be called progressive. For me, everything starts with Dan Seagrave cover art, a master of dark surreal/sci-fi area. Well, some could say the band was following the steps by Death and Atheist. It doesn't change the relevance of the album. Kent Smith symphonic keyboards addition to Pestilence here is epic. After every standard track there's a short instrumental/symphonic segue summoning a dreamy fear, as a catastrophical nightmare. The sound keeps aggressive but isn't so brutal. The guitar solos are melodic and catchty, while the musical chords were well chosen and the surreal atmosphere evokes deep feelings.

No they weren't a group of rebel kids just playing hateful music without meaning. At least not anymore.

 Two from the Vault by PESTILENCE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2003
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Two from the Vault
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Two From The Vault" is a boxset release by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The boxset was released through Roadrunner Records in September 2003. "Two From The Vault" is a concept Roadrunner Records invented to give people a chance to purchase two albums for the price of one and also to reissue some out of print albums. Other than Pestilence, releases by artists like King Diamond, Suffocation and Gorguts, have also been given the same treatment.

This particular "Two From The Vault" box set features Pestilence 2nd and 3rd full- length studio albums "Consuming Impulse (1989)" and "Testimony Of The Ancients (1991)". Both "classic" death metal albums by one of the greatest Dutch death metal acts from the late eighties/early nineties. Although both albums were released under the Pestilence monicker, they are actually very different in style. "Consuming Impulse (1989)" is relentlessly raw and brutal death metal while "Testimony Of The Ancients (1991)" is generally a lot more sophisticated and at times even semi-progressive. Both were groundbreaking releases when they were originally released though. Few albums from 1989 sounded as raw and brutal as "Consuming Impulse (1989)" and few death metal albums from 1991 sounded as sophisticated as "Testimony Of The Ancients (1991)". A shift on the lead vocalist spot between the two albums is one of the explanations behind the very different sounding albums, but overall itīs actually just the first sign that Pestilence were never a band to make the same album twice...

Both albums are high quality death metal releases and definitely worth a purchase. Both because of historical value, but certainly also because of the high quality songwriting, musicianship, and sound productions contained within. If you can get a hold of this "Two From The Vault" version, I can definitely recommend a purchase. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Obsideo by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.75 | 13 ratings

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Obsideo
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Obsideo" is the 7th full-length studio album by technical/progressive death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Candlelight Records in November 2013. Itīs the bandīs third album release since they released "Resurrection Macabre (2009)" after a 16 years long break in recording activities. In trademark Pestilence style, none of their releases sound alike and itīs always with some hesitation and fear that you put on a new album from the band.

As it turns out "Obsideo" only partially continues the trend of sounding different from itīs predecessor as there are more similarities between "Doctrine (2011)" and "Obsideo" than there probably are between any other Pestilence albums released after each other. Itīs more an overall aestethic though, than it is a similarity in sound and songwriting approach. Stylistically the music on "Obsideo" is technical death metal with the occasional progressive element thrown in. The jazzy guitar solos are the most dominant progressive trait on the album, but the songwriting is also unconventional at times. Pestilence successfully balance the more headbanger friendly death metal moments with technical and progressive sections, that provide the album with an adventurous sound. Fans of more traditional death metal shouldnīt worry too much though as there are plenty of blast beats, death/thrashy riffing and crushingly heavy riff sections in the music to compliment the more sophisticated moments. The use of dissonance, which was also a relatively dominant feature on "Doctrine (2011)", is also an element of the sound on "Obsideo".

Patrick Mameli has always sounded a bit like Chuck Schuldiner (Death, Control Denied) "lite" (and mostly with great success I might add) and the same can be said about his vocal performance on "Obsideo". After the caustic vocal performance he delivered on "Doctrine (2011)", his performance here is a bit more restrained though. Still powerful and raw, but not as intense and passionate as his performance on the predecessor. New drummer David Haley (Psycroptic, The Amenta, Ruins, Blood Duster), who replaces Yuma van Eekelen, is on fire throughout the album. A greatly skilled drummer who is capable of driving the music forward in an incredibly powerful way (not that his predecessor had any trouble doing that). Bassist Georg Maier is new in the lineup too. He replaces Jeroen Paul Thesseling. Maier is a slightly less extraordinary bassist than Thesseling is, but he is skilled enough.

The material are generally well written ("Necromorph" is a highlight to my ears) and the organic sound production on "Obsideo" is professional. Paired with the excellent musicianship we have a quality release on our hands. Pestilence have twisted their sound just enough for "Obsideo" to stand out as an individual entity in their discography and while itīs not the bandīs most original or unique sounding release itīs still a very enjoyable and strong album deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.

 Doctrine by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.71 | 14 ratings

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Doctrine
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Oh. This cover art is ugly. But it's the best part of this album. The songs are poor, lack of personality, lack of creativity, lack of MUSIC. Worse than the previous one, Pestilence is fallen. The new vocals sucks. Nothing to do with the oldschool Pestilence. No more death metal, no more innovation, just the same poor groovy style. Doctrine is boring, I cannot stand the whole album, and I skip some tracks because it was bad enough, a whole album of indistinguishable songs. How could a great band turn into this? I don't know, but please, don't touch this album.
 Resurrection Macabre  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2009
1.92 | 22 ratings

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Resurrection Macabre
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Sometimes a band changes the style and it works great. And sometimes not.

I feel hurt reading good reviews for this album. Pestilence was an amazing oldschool death/ thrash metal band, so they went to the experimental way, and now, they came back with the conventional poor groovy metal. This is worst than pop metal bands. They're worst than Avenged Svnfld and metalcore/deathcore bands here. I'm really disappointed, because they used to be the death metal Voivod (the Spheres album is a masterpiece). This is a musical regret. Please, come back, Pestilence, come back. Resurrection Macabre is not a return album. I will try to forget about this one.

 Testimony of the Ancients  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.70 | 43 ratings

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Testimony of the Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pestilence - Testimony of the Ancients (1991)

Pestilence is a technical well developed death metal band from Holland that on their 'Testimony of the Ancients'-album set their first step into progressive territory, before recording the fusion-drenched 'Spheres'-album after this one. The band has been credited with being one of the first to discover this territory, combing the death metal sound with mild symphonic arrangements and a broadened eye for harmony and atmosphere. Furthermore, Pestilence plays some very melodic parts on a few tracks reminding me a bit of Iron Maiden.

The sheer heavyness of Pestilence with its very heavy grunts make this only interesting for those who are already fans of the technical death metal genre. I myself like the very heavy Metallica 2.0 sound and interplay and the technical playing of the bandmembers. It's like taking the genre to the extreme. The doomsday feel and slightly gothic keyboard-arrangements on some track give the music more depth. Between every death metal track one finds a short atmospheric interlude, which provides us with some breathing space.

Conclusion. Interesting slightly progressive death metal album that will satisfy listeners of the genre and those interested in its development. Three and a halve stars, though from a metal- point-of-view it would deserve four.

 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pestilence - Spheres (1993)

Dutch technical and heavy death metal group Pestilence had already made some pretty heavy trash records before embarking on their one and only truly progressive/fusion death metal album. For many fans of the progressive metal genre it is seen as a revolutionary album, I myself don't know to much about the development of this particular breed of metal.

Pestilence sill has death metal growls, heavy drums and guitars, but some keyboards have entered the mix and time signatures and harmonies have developed quite a bit. The album also sounds a bit more 'electronic' then other albums of the band. All compositions are short and have a more or less traditional form. This isn't much of a problem, because the riffs are all very complex and the harmonic findings are revealed only after a few spins. I'd say it took my at least five listens to acquire some tolerance towards this aggressive maze of riffs and painful shouting. After this a really well composed album begins to appear and I feel enjoyment listening to the inventive use of the death metal elements. Some interludes with keyboard sound a bit dated, but let's not forget this was recorded almost twenty years ago. The production doesn't impress me a lot, but another album of Pestilence also sounded way better on a vinyl and I only have digital copy of this one.

Conclusion. Not an easy entry, but surely a good album for the technical death metal scene. The words jazz and fusion seem a bit out of place, but one does find some extended chords now and then. A well, three and halve stars. Dutch heritage.

 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.06 | 83 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars One of the strangest death metal albums out there that is still firmly entrenched in the 'death metal' sound, Spheres immediately challenges the listener with its unusual production qualities combined with odd tempo rhythms and anguished vocals. It's an interesting beast, and an interesting stylistic shift for the band which would not revisit this unique approach to metal in the future, at least until now.

Utilizing a producer whose forte is not exactly abrasive metal, the focus is more on making sure each instrument is heard clearly than pummeling the senses, and the guitars don't weigh in with a particularly 'heavy' distortion. In fact, they sound warm enough to cozy up to by the fireside. Bass playing is fretless and audible, and quite an excellent display of showmanship at times by a man who much later would be part of another band with sc-fi leaning recordings named Obscura for a period of time. Drumming is busy and difficult while neither being particularly jazzy nor blasting away with fast thrashy tempos. There's a sort of mid-tempo vibe to this entire endeavor while creatively bouncing around with its time signatures.

The vocals help keep the death metal flame within this group alive, consisting of unusually throaty growls that remind me of Death's vocalist or Lemmy from Motorhead in the throes of one screaming mad seizure. Notable proggish cut "Personal Energy" stands out from the rest of the tracks with its mellow flow and distant robotic vocals providing atmosphere.

Another feature of this record is the synth usage, although in this case it's synth guitars rather than apparently "uncool" keyboards (which they had used in their previous effort). The band emphasizes that no keyboards were used in the liner notes for this album. Great, except that some of this synth guitar layers alone come across as a bit cheesy at times, like a score to some 1970s low budget sci-fi flick involving model spaceships dangling from strings chasing each other in front of a black curtain backdrop.

As a progressive metal album, it more than qualifies and possesses an individual sound that has hardly been duplicated since. It's also a style that can wear out its welcome, since many of these tracks have such similarities that the overall distinction of the album loses that aspect when it comes to individual tracks excepting the instrumentals and "Personal Energy". The vocals themselves can get a bit irritating at times, not because of growling itself, but this sort of "throaty" wail branch of growling is not exactly my favorite design of the form.

An interesting and odd interpretation of extreme metal.

 Testimony of the Ancients  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.70 | 43 ratings

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Testimony of the Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Going in the right direction

As heavy metal continued to evolve as the 1980's were comming to an end, you could see that something was about to change completely for a number of bands, whose albums could foreshadow some years in advance. Voivod had Dimension Hatröss, Death had Human, Queensrĸche had Rage for Order, Savatage had Streets, Fates Warning had Waken the Guardian and Pestilence had Testimony. Even though Testimony of the Ancients is a straight death metal album for the most part, there are substantial parts of it that point to the direction that the band would take not much time after, such as leaving behind a considerable part of the brutality of Consuming Impulse and foc using in improving their compositional craft and the playing abilities; the biggest case for them, for me, in both cases would be the third song, Twisted Truth, which features some of the most amazing and memorable guitar solos of death metal, leaving me mesmerized everytime I listen to that song.

Testimony of the Ancients also feature a noticeable deal of experimentation on the part of this Dutch band, having keyboards playing on multiple instances (what is still somewhat a taboo amongst extreme bands today, so I can only imagine the backlash they had then based on the fact that the band made some effort to make it clear, on Spheres, that did not used any keyboards) as well as having a number of interludes (though some would call them fillers) through the whole album, which both conclude the song that preceded and introduced the next, what isn't something you would find in any given album, specially in death metal genre. Even the cover is unusual for death metal standards, with a metallic sphere of some sort in what seems to be a tower in castle or fortification, giving the album something of a mystical aura instead of the usual gore/splatter/shock cover art.

Being the middle ground between Consuming Impulse and Spheres, however, has a price: inconsistence; not in quality, mind you, but in integration. In Testimony the band has some hard time integrating their traditional, so to speak, death metal with the new found progressive approach they are employing through the album. It is possible to see the stark change between the death and the prog in a matter of moments. Once again I would like to draw attention to Twisted Truth, where just some few notes separate the brutal atmosphere (made solely by the guitars, bass and drums) and the melodic guitar solos and hooks (which have the keyboard added to the mix, playing in the background, what reinforces the dramatic change in the song's tone).

Both the production and the musicianship here are great, what only add to the album's overall quality. The production, specifically, makes every instrument sound clear, also gives them a some rough edges to couple with the music's aggressiveness.

Rating and final thoughts

Up untill this point in their career, I could say that Pestilence was something of a generic band, being mostly influenced by other bands than actually being an influence, a point of reference. Testimony of the Ancients definitively changes the way that Pesttilence is viewd, making them a band that was not a only considered genuinely good, but also as one of those who were driving this genre forward (and unconsciously founding extreme progressive metal).

Because of all that, 4 stars for this testimony.

Thanks to The T for the artist addition.

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