Review Summary: Your resident meathead in mind.
These days death metal seems to be a whirling point of talent, at least in terms of instrumental proficiency. What I mean is you’re unlikely to hear a death metal guitarist churn through a three chord progression with the careless grace of Angus Young as some beer-toting neck-beard screams through verses of failed love and macho refrains. Seriously though, it probably goes without saying that if the guys and girls behind this little sub-genre couldn’t
play their instruments...none of us would be here talking about it. Putting aside this sweeping, ridiculous standpoint to which I’ve so laboriously started this review, I can’t help but look for something simpler
than the everyday trend wagon of bands outdoing each other with every chance they get. You know...less saxophone, more riffs. Drawn and Quartered’s Congregation Pestilence
only ticked some of the boxes.
Not that any of Drawn and Quartered’s 2021 release could be seen in a negative light, for Congregation Pestilence
is a grower, taking the very staples of death metal that appeal to the average fan and add a nuance that’s not quite individual but impressive all the same. Largely, Drawn and Quartered’s newest is proficient, meaty and all-around solid if not new to the world of death metal. Congregation Pestilence
is a grower of a record, quietly expanding on the basics of a genre all too soon dismissed for its sameness and occasional blending moments.
’s make up however is one of mirth and death metal bred from the bowels of a cavern. One wrong step and you’ll find yourselves ankle deep in the mucus like slime seeping from the walls. Like a revolving door of Incantation motifs, Drawn and Quartered take on the mirth of this cavernous dirge and add their own flair, upping the tempo and intensity; cultivating a sound that’s intrinsically straight-forwards, without stopping to smell the feculent roses on its path. “Death's Disciple” is a burly, unrelenting opener—churning through a number of riffs while supplying followable leads. “Age Of Ignorance” further relies on melodic hooks, Kelly Kuciemba’s guitar lines flirt between simply existing and forming little earworms before the frenetic ripping guitar solo cuts through the fray with squealing abandon. It’s these leads that float above the mix with sonorous intent. As the listener finds themselves further along Congregation Pestilence
’s thirty-nine minute run time, Drawn and Quartered’s writing chops begin to deliver in full.
“Dispensation (Rise Of The Antichrist)” is a testament to “proper” death metal built from a no-frills style while directing riffs into a circle pit of organic sounding drums, bellowing bass and cavern-led growls. You could forgive a new listener for mistaking the track’s more humble nuances for ‘another blending’ moment, especially alongside beefy cuts such as “Six Devils (Trepanation)”, “Carnage Atrocity” and the monstrous title track which bookends this primal display of death.
Admittedly, Congregation Pestilence
isn’t going to be the “be all, end all” of death metal albums this year and a lot of the Drawn and Quartered musical formula may sound too average to less learned ears, but it’s the little things that help this Seattle based group excel in the simple things. That doesn’t mean Congregation Pestilence
is top tier in a world of blast beats and gruffer vocal passages, but neither does it condemn the act to the bowels of the genre, absent of the accolades they so deserve. Congregation Pestilence
’s take is a fervent take on organic death metal, belched from a cavern of gritty snare beats and crisp riffs.