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Pustilence - Beliefs of Dead Stargazers and Soothsayers Award winner

Beliefs of Dead Stargazers and Soothsayers
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 May 2023, 3:55 AM

PUSTILENCE is an Australian death metal band who formed in 2018. ‘ Beliefs of Dead Stargazers and Soothsayers’ is their full length debut but they released an excellent EP a few years ago.  I discovered this band just weeks before getting this promo so imagine my excitement when I pushed play and was blown away for the next 45 minutes.  I was hoping this album could capture the brutal yet catchy magic of their EP and not only did they capture it but they fed it right, released it, and now it is an even bigger monster.

I’ll be honest…when I first discovered them, their odd name made me think they were some sort of weird joke death metal band like CANNABIS CORPSE or something.  There isn’t anything wrong with that, per say, but this band is deadly serious at their craft. The production is perfectly balanced…not too loud nor too low.  It isn’t super raw but it definitely isn’t pristine.  The mix is on point too, every sickening, disgusting note is as powerful as the one next to it without overpowering the other elements. The band tends to play their death metal as a mix between mid and faster paces, leaning on the more speedier elements.  They do slow it down on occasion with a crushing groove but that is what makes them so exciting: they can do anything and on this album they spend 45 minutes doing just that.  The length of the album is perfect too although the track list might seem a little long at first with eleven tracks.

However, two are interludes and one is an outro so really it is a much more manageable eight track collection.  Unfortunately, the three intro/outro tracks are what keep this album from being perfect.  These sections just aren’t any good.  They do fit the atmosphere but are uninteresting and kill the flow of the album. As far as I’m concerned, removing them would have worked better but that's just me and the nit-picky reviewer side of me. The album begins with ‘Aspirants Of Intemperance,’ for an immediate banger to show off what power they have from the get go. The squealing guitar hooks dig deep and pull the music back down to heavy, murky waters although the intensity of the band is more akin to a runaway train that is on fire and covered with demons.  I love the vocals—high death screams or low gutturals  ensure a quality vocal attack will always accompany the music and match its relentless nature.

The movement 1:48 all the way to the four minute mark is just ridiculously savage. The drums and bass compliment this entire passage in a masterclass way and I found myself rewinding this whole part several times because apparently I liked my brain damaged. ‘Concupiscence,’ is groove-tastic and I love the way the drums just keep hammering this in over and over again while still being an immovable foundation.  Basically, this song is one giant head bang.  The guitar solos are short but very very well done.  The first one is a weird one like would be heard in MORBID ANGEL but the later ones are just melodic enough to contrast against the guitar/bass rhythm that lifts it up.

Outwith The Plains Of Ultimatum,’ is a dynamic song with a frenzied vocal attack.  Musically, it chugs in the beginning, switches over to a more methodical approach, then moves over to hyper speed just before settling into a rotten groove.  Two more clever solos find their way into the chaos…..what a killer song! ‘Pishogue Thaumaturge’ is perhaps the most intense song on the album—low gutturals, dense base, tightly focused guitar, and pain inducing drums ensure this one is a burner from beginning to end.
The last song before the outro is “Extirpated Conquest,’ and it has a huge doom vibe to it in the beginning with a slow groove  Of course, the song speeds up a few notches but it is all born out of the initial moments, the song building upon itself as the body count increases.

PUSTILENCE’s ‘Beliefs of Dead Stargazers and Soothsayers,’ is a top tier death metal album that pulls out all the stops.  If they are already this good just being a few years into their legend, I imagine this band will be unstoppable once they get a few more albums under their belt.  Highly recommend

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

4 Star Rating

1. Aspirants of Intemperance
2. Profound Assiduity
3. Concupiscence
4. Iliad to the Contorted Apprehension
5. Outwith the Plains of Ultimatum
6. Procured Propensities
7. Pishogue Thaumaturge
8. An Ode to the Eyes That Are Yellow
9. Demiurge Divertissement
10/ Extirpated Conquest
11. Testament of Disarray
Sean Matulich - Bass
Earl - Drums, Keyboards
Taylor Burnett - Guitars, Vocals
Anthony Oxenbridge - Guitars
Record Label: Memento Mori


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