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Pestilence - Malleus Maleficarum
Review: With the rhythmic heft of speed metal carrying the emergent textures and collisive riffing of death metal, Pestilence create unique song and melodic shapes around which to proliferate derivation and synthesis in highly articulated formations of motion and tone that convey an abstract sensation of experience to their hearing.
Pounding undulation of drums in the speed metal style matches cadence to a chanted vocal which is hoarse in the style of early Sodom more than death metal, howling a near-hiss of vocal overprojection, beating out the heartbeat tradition of speed metal/death metal in the crossover style of Germany in the middle 1980s. Lead guitars drift into experimental and death metal territory with highly chaotic solos that through the unconnected stimulate the fusion and regeneration of ideas in sound. While some riffs bear heavy metal heritage and many are familiar from second-tier speed metal bands, the grandeur of articulation is emphasized in scenario defining phrases which as in classical music are distinguished by their balance of harmony within melody more than coherence to a central harmonic structure.
Instrumentation and arrangement are precise and concepts stridently independent and resurgently antisocial in redefinition of social virus to match mental illness in the sublimated iconography subtextually encoded in phrase shape and song narrative. While each player contributes significant concrete and aesthetic fragments of the whole, of worthy note are the rigid and belligerent vocals of Martin van Drunen of the then-fledling Asphyx, which matching this declarative music drag a serrated edge of morbid reality relevant to the individual outside of social logic.