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Pestilence – Exitivm Award winner

by Thomas Kumke at 11 June 2021, 11:14 AM

Dutch Death Metal legends PESTILENCE are back with their 9th full-length album! Going back into the band’s history, they started in 1986 as a Thrash Metal band which changed towards Death Metal with progressive elements at the beginning of the 90s. After their split in 1994, Patrick Mameli restarted PESTILENCE in 2008. Throughout their history, they released nine studio albums, three live albums, several splits and a box set compilation. “Exitivm” was released via Polish label Agonia Records which has a number of Death and Black Metal bands among their roster. The album has a length of about 39 minutes.

There have been a few changes for PESTILENCE in recent times with a new line-up and a new label. Nevertheless, “Exitivm” maintains the mix of Death Metal, technical Death Metal, progressive elements, and a few Thrash Metal vibes that fans so much love about the band. The 12 tracks include a synthesizer intro and outro, apart from that, there are 10 songs that are bludgeoning without mercy. “Morbvs Propagationem”, the opener after the intro gives the direction: an onslaught of aggressive guitar riffs, technical comprehensive lead guitars, bursts of blast-beats and double-bass drums, and brutal vocals. The track is played mostly with a fast pace, especially during the chorus sections. The lead guitar solo half-way through the song is sharp, dynamic, and flesh-ripping. “Morbvs Propagationem” is a video release and the YouTube link is given below.

Deificvs” and “Sempiternvs” are dark and doom-laden songs kept in mid-tempo. The guitar riffs on “Deificvs” are powerful and in combination with the double-bass drums super heavy. “Sempiternvs” includes a few short breaks in high tempo. The lead guitar solos on both songs are highlights of the album.

The overall theme of the album is a bit futuristic with some added orchestral elements throughout the album which contributes to its darkness. Often, orchestral elements are added at the beginning or the end of tracks, or they serve as transitions. There are many occasions where choral elements are added to songs, “Internicionem”, “Dominatvi Svbmissa” and “Pericvlvm Externvm” are good examples for this.

Dominatvi Svbmissa” and “Pericvlvm Externvm” are songs of incredible aggressiveness, very tight guitar riffing, gloomy atmosphere intensified by background choral arrangements, deafening lead guitar solos with for the album typical disharmonies and distortions, especially on “Pericvlvm Externvm”. The tempo during the second half of the album is predominantly mid-tempo. “Inficiat” has a head-banging, almost stomping rhythm for most parts of the song. The pre-final “Immortvos” is straightforward and fast for most parts, but it includes a for this album typical break with twists and distortions as well as a guitar solo that almost is a stand-alone piece of the song. “Immortvos” slowly transitions into the outro which leaves the listener in an atmosphere of doom and gloom.

PESTILENCE have delivered one of their very best album since the reunification. “Exitivm” has all the ingredients to be one of the best Death Metal albums in 2021. It has brutality, but without being too pummeling. It is rather a subtle brutality triggered by the triptych of flesh-ripping guitar riffing, lead guitar disharmonies that are nerve-stretching at times, and ear-battering vocals that perfectly fit to the sound. The album includes orchestral and choral background parts which provide a dark atmosphere that is frightening. All this is evidence of excellent songwriting. The production is very guitar-oriented. PESTILENCE are back with a bang and “Exitivm” is a must have for every Death Metal fan.

Songwriting:  10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. In Omnibvs (Intro)
2. Morbvs Propagationem
3. Deificvs
4. Sempiternvs
5. Internicionem
6. Mortifervm
7. Dominatvi Svbmissa
8. Pericvlvm Externvm
9. Inficiat
10. Exitivm
11. Immortvos
12. Personatvs Mortem (Outro)
Patrick Mameli – Vocals, Guitars
Rutger van Noordenburg – Guitars
Michiel van der Plicht – Drums
Joost van der Graaf – Bass
Record Label: Agonia Records


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