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PESTILENCE
PESTILENCE
The Dysentery Penance
(Vic Records)
41:37min

"That band... well, I think that only their demos and first couple of albums were good" - this cliché phrase sums up what many fans would say about Metal bands from the 80s and early 90s, rightfully. Some of these bands either changed their direction in the albums and failed to keep up with the songwriting quality of their demo era (e.g. THOU SHALT SUFFER and BLASPHEMY) and other legendary bands have made a huge impact without even having recorded a full length album (HELLHAMMER and NECROVORE being probably the best examples... with all due respect to SADISTIC INTENT ;-) ). Last but not least, there are bands that are remembered as classics mainly due to their albums, despite having released decent but not mindblowing demos before. PESTILENCE belongs to the last category. Although the debut demo "Dysentery" presents an ambitious, hard working band that already sounds quite confident just a year after being formed, one could say that it's still not much more than another Thrash band that is heavily influenced by SLAYER, with vocals (still handled by Patrick Mameli, before Martin Van Drunen's joining) more reminiscent of Stace McLaren from RAZOR and some occasional mid-paced parts. Not bad at all for a start, but it's still not something that stands out enough. When it comes to the sound of this release - Dan Swanö has almost done a good job here. Fortunately, he was unable to use sound replacement for drums, the way he usually does it for new albums. The sound is clear and punchy, way more than one would dare to expect a 28 years old demo to sound. The only complaint would be the totally unnecessary loudness. It would be better if the drums were not clipped. Back to music - the 2nd demo "The Penance" presents the band's next step, this time with Martin Van Drunen on vocals. This demo is a big step further from the debut. It sounds less "influenced" and most of it was later used on the debut album "Malleus Maleficarum". Is it as good as the album, though? Well, even if some prefer the rawer sound of the demo, fans of Martin's unique approach to singing are likely to be disappointed, since his voice is barely recognizable and not half as monstrous as they sound in his later works. When all is said and done, it's surely nice that Vic Records have resurrected some demos that have been in high demand for many years (such as those of Mike Browing's INCUBUS and the legendary Swedish MEFISTO's material), but PESTILENCE's demos are far from being as unique or influential, so it would be an exaggeration to say that this release is a must for anyone but die hard fans and "completist" collectors. www.facebook.com/pestilenceofficial, www.vicrecords.com

Sergei Pismeny

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