Review Summary: Death metal. No bullshit.
What's the deal with death metal these days? It's all about technicality this, brutality that, slamming guttural mosh whatever the hell, and it's probably best to not even think about deathcore. Let us once again be nostalgia's bitch and hark back to the good old days, when young death metal was basically just a heavier and infinitely more deranged version of his big brother, thrash metal. Old school death metal indeed, death metal in it's purest form; with psychotic vocals, relentless drumming and plenty of mother***ing RIFFS
The Netherlands' Pestilence
is about as old school as death metal gets, forming in 1986 at first as a thrash metal band, before adopting a distinctly heavier style that would become known as death metal for their 1989 release Consuming Impulse
, considered by many to be their best work and a classic within the genre. Consuming Impulse
is clearly old school death metal epitomized; and opening track Dehydrated
makes no issue of making that absolutely apparent. Wasting no time with a stupid, irrelevant sample or pointless build-up, the song punches straight into an excellent tremolo picked riff backed by great, audible bass and furious but tight drumming. Shortly after we're introduced to vocalist Martin van Drunen; while he doesn't employ any of the vocal techniques such as gutturals that death metal is known for today, his style was clearly influential within the genre. His voice is hoarse, frantic and completely unhinged. He sounds like an insane religious fanatic reciting some forgotten scripture to an already-dead congregation. Around half way through, Dehydrated
breaks down into a slower, mournful riff, while van Drunen whispers sneeringly into the microphone, before increasing in pace again to climax with the memorable line "Without any water, you won't last // die in the desert, death comes fast," just as an excellent solo shrieks and finishes off the song. Every single song on the album retains this high standard, with a myriad of first class riffs and an overall sinister atmosphere, often courtesy of creepy, ethereal sounding effects used in songs such as Echoes of Death
The solos on Consuming Impulse
definitely indicate Pestilence
's past as a thrash band, they are technical and abundant and often come at the climax of a song. Thankfully they are varied enough to keep the listener interested, from the intense tapping on the likes of Suspended Animation
to the far slower and more melodic Proliferous Souls
which is not really a song but a two minute solo. Despite all this, the solos never come across as masturbatory. The guitar tone used is a high pitched wail, which sounds like something akin to a dentist's drill, which obviously reflects the overall punishing feel of the album.
Lyrically, Consuming Impulse
is up to par, the lyrics aren't mind blowingly amazing but they are definitely well written especially considering English isn't the band's first language, and there is some surprisingly clever world play such as "Deify thy Master". The biggest asset of the lyrics is that they are actually relevant; van Drunen is far more intelligible than any of the gurning guttural vocalists associated with modern death metal. With themes concerning death, decomposition and torture, Consuming Impulse
set the standard of death metal lyrics for years to come.
definitely deserves it's status as a death metal classic. This is one of the albums that laid the foundation for one of the most famous and controversial genres in music, and it's still an absolute heavyweight when contending with anything more recent. For everything death metal should be and a few riffs more, listen to this album.