Pestilence is a band with a long and distinguished history. Once heralded as the Dutch answer to Death they made quite a splash in the late eighties and early nineties with albums like “Consuming Impulse” (1989) and “Testimony Of The Ancients” (1991). “Spheres” (1993) saw Patrick Mameli and company experimenting with jazz and progressive influences, which wasn’t always appreciated by long time Pestilence fans. Things got from bad to worse which eventually led a 14 year long hibernation until 2008…
“Obsideo”, the band’s third post reactivation album, feels like the proverbial kick in the nuts. Its material sound fresh and vital and Patrick Mameli’s trademark finesse for memorable guitar riffs is still very much in full swing. Pestilence’s ever revolving line-up includes drummer Dave Haley (Psycroptic) and bassist Georg Maier this time around and they prove to be a formidable rhythm section. Their musical prowess really compliments Mameli’s considerable composing skills, which is aptly demonstrated on tracks like ‘Displaced’, ‘Aura Negative’ and ‘Soulrot’.
The one thing that sets Pestilence apart from many of their contemporaries is the fact Mameli and friends actually attempt to write real songs, build around recognisable musical themes and song structures. Their collective technical edge never gets in the way of a solid groove or memorable guitar riff, which is a quality that not many death metal bands seem to have nowadays. Not every song may be as memorable, but the vast majority of them actually sticks. This rings especially true for the aforementioned songs and the title track.
When you’re hoping to hear a return to of the old Pestilence, you’d better cling on to “Consuming Impulse” or “Testimony Of The Ancients”. “Obsideo” is a fresh take on the style set out on two previous albums, with a couple of twists as only Patrick Mameli can deliver.