Pestilence - The Resurrection Macabre (MASCOT Records - LP 2009)
Even before I started to listen to "The Resurrection Macabre" I've read some opinions that the album is just weak and it's not the same Pestilence as it used to be. Shit, what a stupid mouth-fucking. Of course it can't be the same Pestilence. It never will. First of all, because it’s been 15 years since the last album and times are different. Secondly, if bands like Bolt Thrower or Asphyx have always had their one and only characteristic sound, which wasn’t changing much during the years, then Pestilence was (r)evolving with every album! So, which Pestilence isn't the same I ask: the death thrashing from "Malleus Maleficarum", pure death beast from "Consuming Impulse", atmospheric but technical "Testimony of the Ancients" or jazzy, too brave and thus misunderstood "Sphere"-era Pestilence? The band was always changing, so it's only due to your musical taste, which old albums are your favourite and which band's sound would you like to hear again on the comeback CD. But in the end it's again everything up to Partick Mamelli and what’s in his mind that he’ll compose. So, don't say the band is not the same anymore... The only thing that will never be back is the young age of the old Pestilence members, as well as the fact that nowadays Mamelli and Uterwijk are bold and put on weight quite a lot.
But usually everyone expects that the reformed bands will play just like on the old records. And yeah, there were some great comebacks: Unanimated, Asphyx, Benediction, Desultory... Even Gorefest, before turning (again) into self parody. But for Pestilence my expectations were high especially. I remember them being my favourite band in the early 90's, when I started to listen to death metal and there were three bands that I loved especially: Morgoth, Death and Pestilence. I had the tapes, which have been played almost every day and I still should have the remains of the old t-short somewhere. Of course "Testimony of the Ancients" was my number one album and the video for "Land of Tears" something amazing. But all Pestilence albums are classics nowadays (well, except "Spheres" maybe), I still listen to them frequently and so to be honest I expected quite a lot from "Resurrection Macabre"; maybe not such timeless as the old albums are, but at least something good and solid. And that's exactly what I got.
I'm pleased to announce that "Resurrection Macabre" doesn't disappoint me and if I had any expectations, it fulfilled them all. First contact with the vinyl is more than great as I really love the front artwork - definitely the best one along with "Testimony..." cover. The skeleton king holding "the sphere" in the tomb... it looks killer!
Oh, it's so good to hear Partick's voice again! It's the same feeling I had when I listened to Hail of Bullets' album for the first time and Martin van Drunen's vocals sounded from the speakers - it's the happiness to hear that these guys still have the guts and their voices didn't change much for the past 20 years and still sound very much like it was 1992. Both Martin (who, I don't need to remind you that, was a growler in Pestilence also!) and Patrick both have unique style of vocals and you can recognise them immediately. Since the "Spheres" Mamelli didn't lose anything and his growlings are still damn vicious and angry.
Also with the music only you can recognise what band it is. The riffs are so characteristic for Pestilence that it amazes me how quickly I got into this album and how often I was familiar with the specific technique and style of Pestilence and what I like most is that "Resurrection Macabre" combines all Pestilence albums and glue them together into new death metal beast. "Devouring Frenzy" for instance is vicious as hell, but has some parts, which easily could be on "Spheres" - I mean those slides, weird accords or whatever... It is pretty technical and mechanical, just like this old album, with the only difference which is that "Resurrection Macabre" is way more brutal and aggressive and the production is not so industrialised as the one from "Spheres". Here the guitars have power and they're total death metal, without much experimenting, there even aren't any keyboards - what instantly puts the cult of "Testimony of the Ancients" away and brings the connection to "Consuming Impulse" uncompromising sound.
Sometimes the playing is incredibly fast and relentless, more extreme and brutal than Pestilence ever was! And that's what I like about this album. I didn't expect it to be so aggressive and powerful and so death metal to the bone. There are many great and memorable songs here, "Horror Detox" being one of my favourite ones, I can really say it sounds like more updated version of the thrashing tracks from the first LP! The style of riffs and arrangements make me think of "Parricide" and I love it, it's great song with cool guitar lead! Then there's "Fiend", which again is in the "Spheres" style and "Devouring Frenzy" which is just a beast, so fast and brutal! "Hate Suicide" may have some parts similar to "Testimony", but without the focus on the dark atmosphere... and you may imagine now that "Resurrection Macabre" does connects the past with the present in fantastic way. Finally, the album brings three old tracks re-recorded (chosen by the votes from the fans), cool idea, but of course I’ll always prefer their original, old versions.
Of course I'll always say that the first three LPs are the best and classic forever, but honestly "Resurrection Macabre" is also really great and it is better than many of you may expect. OK, maybe not all tracks are classics, but they're cool and it was so good to listen to this style, these vocals and everything else again that I feel relieved the band didn't fail. Besides, if we talk about the technical death metal, "Resurrection Macabre" has something what most of the present bands from his style can't achieve - catchy and memorable, well written songs. There's nothing more to be said, just grab your copy of "Resurrection Macabre" and enjoy it!