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REVIEW: Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre Mascot Records, 2009
8.5/10
Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre - cover art Pestilence is back after some 15 years of silence with Resurrection Macabre, and this move has fans (A.) rejoicing, (B.) shaking their heads in confusion, (C.) curious in general, or (D.) perhaps some or all of the above. Old school Death Metal fans will rejoice because Resurrection Macabre is a fine album for those embracing the technical and the brutal. Some will undoubtedly shake their heads in confusion because of founding member Patrick Mameli's distancing himself from Death Metal, never mind his dalliance with the strange on C-187's 2007 recording, which itself left many heads shaking. [As an aside, how exactly does an album featuring Sean Reinert (Cynic, Gordian Knot) on drums and Tony Choy (Atheist, Cynic) on bass sound anything like Collision? Ugh.] Otherwise, fans of the band's most celebrated and hated moment, 1993's Spheres, will be curious, period, as to what Pestilence would sound like in 2009.

Well, it sounds brutal and technical with great modern production courtesy of Jacob Hansen's knob-twiddling. While the vocals are essentially one-dimensional, it is Death Metal, after all, this can be forgiven in light of the fervor surrounding the band's reunion. Oh, wait. This is not to be considered a reunion even though the live band consists of 3 out of 4 members from Testimony of the Ancients: Mameli on vocals and guitar, Choy on bass, Patrick Uterwijk on guitars, and newcomer Peter Wildoer (Darkane) on drums. Here's what Mameli had to offer in that regard: "I don't want to rely on successes of the past. This is not a reunion, but a second life for Pestilence." So be it. Left behind in the current era, resurrected Pestilence are any jazz flourishes a la Spheres, and instead there is much brutality perhaps most similar in a sonic sense to Monstrosity.

Some highlights of the new album are, strangely enough, revisitations of the past. "Chemo Therapy" was originally released 21 years ago on the debut, Malleus Maleficarum, while "Out of the Body" first appeared some 20 years ago on the band's second record, Consuming Impulse, and "Lost Souls" was a high point from the band's career watermark, 1991's Testimony of the Ancients, which is still a brilliant listen to this day. The new song "Dehydrated II" is a follow-up to, duh, "Dehydrated" from Consuming Impulse. Aside from these gems, "Synthetic Grotesque," proper album closer "In Sickness and Death," and the title track rule. On these three the band really shines. It is of note that Wildoer's pummeling percussion is more aggressive than anything in the band's back catalog, and as such it propels Pestilence into another realm of speed, if nothing else. Additionally, Choy's bass is surprisingly muted for much of the album and one expecting to hear plentiful isolated bass licks will be disappointed. However, Mameli's guitars more than make up for it.

written by Tony Belcher

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Tracklist
1. Devouring Frenzy
2. Horror Detox
3. Fiend
4. Hate Suicide
5. Synthetic Grotesque
6. Neuro Dissonance
7. Dehydrated II
8. Resurrection Macabre
9. Hangman
10. Y2H
11. In Sickness & Death
12. Chemo Therapy [Bonus]
13. Out of the Body [Bonus]
14. Lost Souls [Bonus]

Playing time: 54:34

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