Pestilence have always been an intriguing band – aside from Patrick Mameli’s often dubious worldview – having released often divisive yet ever challenging material that has consistently pushed death metal’s boundaries into ever new terrains.
During a career that has spanned 35 years, Pestilence have continuously set the bar, with the old-school glory of Consuming Impulse (1989), the progressive death majesty of Testimony Of The Ancients (1991), the mind-bending jazz-fusion of Spheres (1993) and the more modern, technical death metal, approach of Obsidio (2013) maintaining their reputation for esoteric, highly original, death metal.
As is Mr Mameli’s way, new album Exitivm finds him surrounded by all new band members but this is still very much Patrick’s roadshow and he’s not about to let new additions usurp him from his role as ringleader.
Despite wholesale changes to the line-up not much has really changed, with Pestilence sounding as alien as ever. Discordant and disruptive, Exitivm is a resolutely modern death metal record but one with just enough nods to the past to keep OSDM fans enraptured throughout.
Happily, the forward-thinking, sci-fi feel of Pestilence‘s classic albums remains intact and it’s this balance of nostalgia with a modern sheen that makes Exitivm so damn appealing. The additional use of orchestration and symphonic elements adds layers to Pestilence‘s already crowded – yet clearly defined – sound; providing a haunting backdrop to razor-sharp, discordant riffs that Pestilence have become renowned for.
Exitivm is primarily for fans of Pestilence‘s more abstract moments and if you adored Spheres and worshipped Testimony Of The Ancients (who doesn’t?) then Exitivm comes highly recommended.
Keep your conspiracies, it’s the death metal we’re after! 8/10
Pestilence‘s Exitivm was released on June 25th, 2021 via Agonia Records.