Pestilence – Levels of Perception (2024)

Attempting to create continuity between older and newer works, Pestilence re-recorded a selection of “greatest hits” that leans hard on the more recent albums, as such compilations always tend to do. This proves an intelligent idea since it creates an album that sounds internally consistent and gives the band a chance to give these songs a more aggressive edge.

Levels of Perception features two songs from Testimony of the Ancients, two from Consvming Impvlse, and the rest from their last few albums. Not surprisingly they leave off Malleus Maleficarum, because on re-recording the Destruction-influenced sound of the new tracks matches the rough direction of that album.

In the end calculus the problem here is that the newer material is all very similar in theme where the older material bends the musical rules, and so despite attempts to conceal the jarring difference in the history of this band, this album simply makes me want to listen to Consvming Impvlse again.

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16 thoughts on “Pestilence – Levels of Perception (2024)”

  1. High Speed Reality Denial says:

    They should’ve kept the original AI art for this. It better reflects a release made by automatons gleaning anything lively from years of xeroxed refuse.

    1. Pictures of plastic figures having an existential crisis.

  2. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Pestilence’s first two are as damnedly exciting as Death’s 2nd & 3rd really. To paint this a picture, it’s like picking a bench by the rails in a station watching the trains passing by, only it’s Lemmy on atop of all of them, howling non stop his entire catalog, except for the good songs, back and forth, on a loop like commercial radio..

    1. Pestilence’s first two are as damnedly exciting as Death’s 2nd & 3rd really.

      On relisten, the Destruction influences on Malleus Maleficarum sort of hammered me down. Every band is a duality between its best trait and its worst trait, and for Pestilence it is the axis between death metal and speed metal. Consvming Impvlse is almost pure death metal and maintains a wonderful energy like navigating a labyrinth on a Harley despite being high af on loads of cocaine and kif while firing an M14 and guzzling Glenfiditch. Testimony of the Ancients tries to be the same thing Death Human tried to be, sedate jazz-metal, and it kind of shat the bed because at its core, it was a lot like Malleus Maleficarum! Spheres provided a break because instead of trying for speed metal, he tried for atmospheric rock and worked in a lot of death metal. It was very 1990s aka Clinton years because it aimed for a mood of navel-gazing contentment instead of confronting the abyss, but Mameli is a smart sly fucker and he snuck in all of the void-chasing stuff too. It is a great album but nothing so far tops Consvming Impvlse. In my view, the only Death that compares to Consvming Impvlse is the first one; the rest aimed for more sedate song forms and were trying to crawl their way back to heavy metal. Death exists on a Repulsion-Judas Priest axis, and to be honest, he (the one who died of AIDS) was better at writing Repulsion style riffs than Judas Priest style ones. Really, he just wanted to sing and express himself, which is why he died of fucking AIDS. Another goddamn art student like Hitler.

      1. * black breath * says:

        Boy, l could live on No 2, 3 & 4 Judas Priest and that, Horrified of 1986, Repulsion top tier sole record..

  3. Testimony says:

    They chose right to try and change direction for their next two, unfortunate that did so much in the same spirit many speed metal bands did that very same time. ” If you jerk up & down on the same spot, not really going anywhere, you’re labeled progressive, man! “. And if you change covers & titles signals to fans you abandoned adolescent / wrongthink violent and satanic staff, you “matured”, “got serious”, you embrace the cosmos now, you got environ – mental, or better yet ” you found God! “..

  4. Ancients says:

    ..To do them, all, justice, they did hit a wall with their music & intellect / talent that were limited even in their apex. They wanted to go on but didn’t feel right to sell out to the “current” nu / what have you thing, rather kinda sell out ” with integrity ” to the fans of more traditional or alternative heavier music. These weren’t trve, but at least they were never really mainstream minded, just the dumber portion of the fringes. And Testimony of the Ancients did stick here as an occasional spin.

  5. Van Druunen says:

    Martin van Drunen’s switch to Asphyx did pay off with two really good albums ( 1st & the 2009 one ). Unlike his bandmates at Pestilence and most musicians & fans from the ’80s, he could see where the future really lied, in death metal proper. The thing was, as metal became more and more extreme ( and advanced ), so did its fanbase & participants shrunk to fewer & fewer.

  6. ass sphyncer says:

    Asphyx almost killed that band twice, with Martin ( last one on earth ), and without him ( dog cries ), but l give it to them their ability to bounce back in between & from these catastrophes with two very good albums on t.W.o.I. and especially the 1994 self titled.

  7. arse says:

    sphyncter

  8. search and destroy says:

    Of Destruction’s defining body of work ( ep + first 3 albums ), their most off hand & less calculated, Eternal Devastasion, is where they totally nailed it. They took a promise of teen Stooges & highschool Metallica and developed one particular strand of that, the spindly pedestrian hell’s angel, bummin’ around garbage and concrete, that was truest to who they were. In all its skeletal simplicity this 1986 full length is the stamp on a portion of the genre that mostly didn’t fare very well, such it gained its relistenability value.

  9. • search and destroy • says:

    Of Destruction’s defining body of work ( ep + first 3 albums ), their most off hand & less calculated, Eternal Devastasion, is where they totally nailed it. They took a promise of teen Stooges and highschool Metallica and developed one particular strand of that, the spindly pedestrian hell’s angel, bummin’ around garbage and concrete, that was truest to who they were. In all its skeletal simplicity this 1986 full length is the stamp on a portion of the genre that mostly didn’t fare very well, such it gained its relistenability value.

  10. tetragrammatical astygmata says:

    Testimony of the Ancients is eventually the one that sticks for me too, off their original incarnation, still not A’ tier. On schuldiner, it’s true what they say, that, those collaborated with him, came from or went on to much better projects than his.

  11. Porky McBorky says:

    Spheres is the only Pestilence album worth listening to.

    1. In my view, Consvming Impvlse is superior but I enjoy both.

      1. anomalistic_offerings says:

        Thoughts on the ’97 album “Vanitas Vanitatum” by Nostradamus? The arrangements are adventurous while still maintaining a narrative structure. I always seem to spin that record after listening to Spheres.

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