Pestilence - _Resurrection Macabre_
(Mascot Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (
Reunions may be more commonplace than Hepatitis at a pornography convention these days, but let's be honest: if any band deserved at least one final lap around death metal's bone-strewn track, it was Pestilence. Their erstwhile swansong (1993's _Spheres_) saw them reviled by just about every living music pundit and his mother, only for their unique fusion of Dave Brubeck-inspired improvisation, stop-start chugging and traditional death metal to be adopted as the veritable industry standard by an entire sub-genre a decade later.Still, _Resurrection Macabre_ was never going to be your average reunion. Only Patrick Mameli's presence maintains this new incarnation's connection to early Pestilence line-ups, and that's just fine and dandy because it soon becomes apparent that the record is to be a very personal undertaking. Indeed, as anyone who has read recent interviews with Mameli would attest, the man has an arguably justifiable chip on his shoulder and it can't help but become apparent as soon as "Devouring Frenzy" signals the album's start with a grinding riff that practically lulls you into a state of deathly hypnosis. Every box is well and truly ticked here: the production is bass-heavy and perennially pummelling, Mameli's vocals sound like Immolation's Ross Dolan on steroids, and with Tony Choy and Darkane's Peter Wildoer forming the nucleus of the rhythm section, there's an underlying and exhilarating sense of groove almost omnipresent across the disc's eleven tracks that is unlike anything you have ever heard on a Pestilence album. Clearly this is not a spiteful repeat of _Spheres_, nor a rehash of _Testimony of the Ancients_. "Fiend" and "Synthetic Grotesque" smack you upside the head with their discordance just long and hard enough to leave you gagging for respite before Mameli lets loose with an equally twisted melodic flurry that tangs of otherworldly levels of musical genius.What makes _Resurrection Macabre_ such a special release is that no one could ever honestly have predicted the outcome of a new Pestilence album to begin with. That Mameli and his freshly recruited cohorts chose to steer this effort down paths previously unexplored whilst maintaining their unmistakably vintage essence is proof positive that they remain a force to be reckoned with; one that should frankly never have left us to begin with.
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