Monday, 12 March 2012

PESTILENCE - Consuming Impulse (1989)

01. Dehydrated
02. The Process Of Suffocation
03. Suspended Animation
04. The Trauma
05. Chronic Infection
06. Out Of The Body
07. Echoes Of Death
08. Deify Thy Master
09. Proliferous Souls
10. Reduced To Ashes

Pestilence really bumped up the aggression on this album, just enough so that it made a difference. Their debut was a strong one, but this one really ripped and tore but hard. And no blast beats in sight, this was all old school heads down brutality with drums in the realm of human possibility (Marco Foddis turning in an outstanding performance) that can still crush your head down in between your shoulder blades like a piledriver. The production was excellent for the time as well, handled (like every other Euro thrash release back then) by Harris Johns and it maintains a Colin Richardson-like level of clarity with crisp D-tuned guitars and cracking drums. Apparently the original cover was a group of people eating each other, but at the last minute, without the band's permission, Roadrunner Records replaced the cover and the band never liked the outcome. Admittedly, it's not great but it is differrent from every other band's extremely detailed, nightmarish-dreamscape style covers...

Praise here must go to vocalist Martin van Drunen; while he doesn't employ any of the voice techniques such as gutturals that death metal is known for today, his style was clearly influential within the genre. His voice is hoarse, frantic and completely unhinged. He sounds like an insane religious fanatic reciting some forgotten scripture to an already-dead congregation. Every single song on the album retains a fairly high standard, with a myriad of first class riffs and an overall sinister atmosphere, often courtesy of creepy, ethereal sounding effects used in songs such as "Echoes of Death". The stand-out here, is of course, "Out Of The Body". In my humble opinion it is one of the best death metal songs ever crafted. Randy Meinhard and  Patrick Uterwijk's lead-lines are much more wandering and altogether disturbing than the sloppy "millions-of-notes-a-second" soloing of Slayer's King and Hanneman.

This is a great album by a band so often unfairly overlooked, made of truly skilled musicians who always seemed to have the courage to create something new in their sound. They have my upmost respect, especially for their evolution into a more prog-oriented, jazz-death band. Basically, if Pestilence had been from Florida, this would be in your collection already.

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