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Pestilent Reign - Pyres Award winner

Pestilent Reign
Pyres
by Chris Hawkins at 10 April 2018, 11:28 PM

Germany is a land of exceptional engineers, rich history, and stellar Metal as evidenced from the SCORPIONS to BETHLEHEM to SODOM, and of course, many, many more.  Enter PESTILENT REIGN, a Death Metal band from Stuttgart formed in 2013, and another high quality Deutsche export.  PESTILENT REIGN play Death Metal in the style of DYING FETUS, INTERNAL BLEEDING, and BROKEN HOPE.  The band has managed to craft an album that ceaselessly pummels the listener from start to finish, all the while interjecting elements from a vast arsenal of musical tools that prevent fatigue, boredom, and redundancy.  Any fan of Death Metal, or simply Heavy Metal, would assuredly expand their musical library beneficially by picking up this album.

"Martyr" is the first track on "Pyres" and it starts off with a clever sample of who can only be Alex Jones before launching into a brutal and varied onslaught of riffs characterized by super-fast and clean picking and expertly crafted arpeggios.  It's as if the band dissected every measure of the song adding original flourishes and runs in between meaty palm-muted riffs.  "Saviour," the third track, showcases how incredibly articulated the band's riffs truly are.  At the two-minute mark, the guitar launches into an extremely fast riff made even more timely and effective by palm-muting for the length of the phrase, which coupled with the Middle Eastern vibe of the subsequent lead help the track truly shine.  The longest song, track six titled "Zealot," contains the most changes of any song on the album and displays the wide range of the band's tools of the trade.  An example of this is the almost Black Metal sounding part in the beginning with its careful layering of guitar tracks which shows that Death Metal can still be brutal while adding some melody without sounding like ARCH ENEMY (are they even Death Metal?) or other bands of that subgenre.  One cannot help but crack a smile listening to the evangelical preacher sampled toward the end of the song as he talks about the evils of Death Metal while the band lays down a unique blending of strummed chords and tremolo picking.  The seventh track, "I.M.T.R.M.," features some crafty chords between palm-muting mixing melody and dissonance.  The strummed chords layered construct a cacophony of terror, and it is a testament to the band's talent and invention that after all the years of Death Metal, they are able to truly convey a sense of horror and desperation.

The secret to PESTILENT REIGN's ability to conceive and execute such high quality and varied music is the band's exceptional talent, creativity, and musicianship.  The vocals are of the classic dry lung style, but they are clear, decipherable, and never mumbling.  The drums fuel the heaviness by mixing things up with different blasts, gallops, and tom rolls, all the while equalized to perfection.  The bass does a great job securing its role as a distinct entity and not a place holder by filling all the holes left by the guitar with its own creative riffs, fills, and runs.  Obviously, as evidenced above, the guitar parts are truly what shine brightest.  There is an outstanding grasp of the instrument displayed by the extensive vocabulary of keys, modes, and scales used along with the careful balance of restraint and release by the guitarist to craft what could be categorized as Technical Death Metal, but without the pretentious noodling pervasive throughout the subgenre.  One has a constant feeling of momentum gaining throughout the album, and each listen adds to the ever-growing pile of highlights.  If pressed for a comparison with which to describe the band, it could be said that the band employs the arsenal of VOIVOD to create a sound likened to "Far Beyond Driven"-era PANTERA playing Death Metal.  This is Death Metal as art.

Songwriting:         9
Originality:              8
Memorability:      9
Production:             9
 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Martyr
2. You Will Kneel in Piss and Blood
3. Soul
4. Ouroboros
5. Cleanse the Flesh
6. Zealot
7. I.M.T.R.M.
8. Gutter's Filth
Lineup:
Christoph Sauner - Vocals
Mick Figura – Bass
Lars Hägele - Guitar
Sebastian Unic – Drums
Record Label: Rising Nemesis Records
     


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