When it was rumoured that the mighty Pestilence were re-forming I thought it too good to be true but low and behold this new album was thrust upon a somewhat unsuspecting metal community in March 2009. This is their first album since the controversial but wholly underrated Spheres (1993). This first album of original material in 16 years was eagerly anticipated by all of us who grew up with this pioneering band and remembering Pestilence being one of the dominant forces in the fledgling death metal scene of the late 80's and early 90's.
Resurrection Macabre (2009) is a blistering death metal assault right from the opening death grunts of mainman and founder Patrick Mameli. Not just that, but the bands renowned technical ability is evident throughout and their trademark guitar sound flows brilliantly from track to track and on first listen it almost transported me back to 1991! Pestilence's high point and career defining abum was undoubtedly Testimony of the Ancients (1991). This new album unfortunately does not scale those lofty heights but most quality metal bands only produce a classic once or twice in their careers if lucky, so one cant be too critical of this album on that front. In essence, this album marks a return to the ferocious Pestilence that we knew and loved.
There are three of their old classic songs re-recorded and tagged on the end of the album. While initially sceptical of this potential heresy, repeated listens do affirm that these tracks sound even fresher and more brutal now due to the pristine production job that is evident throughout. However, strong as the album is, one cant help but feel that there is something missing. The innovative and progressive elements that started on Testimony and went perhaps too far on Spheres are rarely hinted at on these tracks which is something of a pity. But the song `Hangman' with it's almost funk like time changes does showcase the creativity of which this band is capable while staying true to the rawness and power of quality death metal.
On a positive, this can be rated as arguably their heaviest and most brutal album to date which is very welcome news for death metal purists. It is also great to see the masters back playing to a new generation of fans who would have missed them in their heyday. Mameli is to be commended for resurrecting this legendary band due partly no doubt to the persistent requests from fans over the years. They are rumoured to be working on a new material at present with hopefully a release sometime later this year. If they can re-ignite some of the progressive elements for which they are famed they can rightly reign supreme at the top of the death metal throne once more. And this can be done without compromising one ounce of the brutality and technical mastery found on this release. Welkome rug Pestilence!
Quality death metal, simple as that and hopefully an inspiration from a fairly static death metal scene, as others have said, it's got enough tech about it without overkill, but the two things the kick your backside are the vocals and drums and the production of both.
For me, the vocals and drums are what makes a death metal band special or average, topped with good crunchy rip your face off production. I just love Pestilence vocals, they, like Vader, epitomize for me the way death metal should be performed.