I was fortunate to review the first 4 Pestilence albums when they were reissued through Hammerheart Records, as well as the last Pestilence album – Hadeon, which was also released on Hammerheart Records.  I went into this review as objective as I could possibly get.  I say this because I love all the Pestilence albums and mainman guitarist/vocalist Patrick Mameli has really had a forward thinking mentality in how he writes and approaches death metal.  Some of those Pestilence albums are some of the best death metal ever recorded.  Patrick is also an outspoken individual and I am not here to judge/comment on anything he has put out the media.  I plan my comings and goings with individuals in how they interact with me.  Patrick and I have been in communication for several years now.

A few years back when I came back to touring with Internal Bleeding, since I was no longer 22 years old anymore – he was an individual in my corner, giving me some vocal tips, with me being older.  Not only did the tips greatly help me, I still use some of them, when recording vocals and in general – it was sage and sound advice.  So much so, I know, I can continue to tour/play live, should I receive future calls.  Anyone who knows me, knows I take things like his advice to heart and my respect for what he did, I will never, ever forget – thank you Mr. Mameli.  Exitivm is the ninth full-length Pestilence album and if you have been a fan of Pestilence since Patrick put the pieces back together in 2008 and the more modern sound, you will enjoy Exitivm.  Patrick has a new line-up as well with: Joost van der Graaf/bass, Rutger van Noordenburg/guitars and Michiel van der Plicht/drums.

Exitivm consists of 12 songs which include an intro and outro with the 10 songs wedged between them.  The intro, “In Omnibvs”, is not a mere 1 minute or so, but a whopping 2.50, which is a lengthy intro….I’m just like, c’mon let’s get this party started already.. The intro has a space-themed style and slowly builds…and builds…and it’s kinda like a slow burn horror movie from the 1970’s…and the slow burn continues as the intro bleeds into “Morbvs Propagationem”, until the song bursts through 14 seconds in and the sound is massive.  The mid-paced part 20 seconds later is destructive and vicious.  The sound is super angry and Patrick sounds killer-his vintage self.  The bass guitar plucking and guitar riffing is exceptional and drums are pummeling.  Excellent guitar melodies and then a solo comes ripping in to take your soul sphere and crush it 1,000 times.  OOOOHHHHH Darkkkkkk Lord-the Holy Shit part is the part to end all parts.  The mid-paced rumbling comes in, then goes into the vintage 90’s Pestilence speed – equipped with the death/thrashing gallop, but then at the 1.50 part, a little isolated guitar, then vocal part and BOOM! Right into a scathing and rip-roaring blast beat.  When Pestilence came back to the scene and the reunion album Resurrection Macabre was unleashed in 2009 the blast beats were a new element the band used.  This really was quite the enhancement and I love when they blast.  Anyway this particular blast is so goddamned fast and after the blast the atmospherics with the synths/keys is exceptional.  The song goes back into the pummeling mid-paced part and then into the galloping speed, before a little blast beat is thrown in. “Morbvs Propagationem” needs to be their new live opener, from now on,- this is one of the best Pestilence songs ever written.

“Deificvs” is up next and is slower and the double bass is thunderous.  Excellent atmospherics and Patrick’s vocals really sound angry AF.  Nice start n start riffing, whereas, a little polyrhythmic section will throw you off balance.  Excellent riffing, soloing and great to have the start n stop section return to end the track, with the soloing.

“Internicionem” brings more of the speed back, really having a Testimony of the Ancients feel to it and excellent vocal patterns.  “Mortifervm” is an interesting song.  More of a mid-paced vicious tune with the polyrhythmic moments.  This is a pretty complex tune…I’ll say…as far as the music is concerned, this Pestilence album may be the most complex album Patrick has ever written…but don’t worry, it’s still catchy.  Anyway, back to the tune..the song is pummeling, and for some reason reminds me of when I listen to “Bleed” from Meshuggah.  A constant mid-paced barrage of rolling heaviness, which is both complex as it is ferocious-that is “Mortifervm”.  This song is another stand-out and is non-stop pummeling heaviness.

The next several songs, kinda stay in neutral.  More of the mid-paced stuff and I did want to hear a few more fast numbers, but we have to wait until “Immortvos”.  This song has excellent riffing, speed and solos and a terrific ending and then “Personatvs Mortem” is the outro to end the album.  More atmospheric space noises and shit…it’s serene and calm.

Exitivm sounds fantastic – the production rules and this is 110% a Pestilence album.  The songwriting is extremely complex and varied and although there are plenty of catchy moments I do find the previous effort Hadeon catchier.  Patrick sounds vicious on this, like he’s murdering someone’s soul-really killer..pun intended.  I would have liked a few more fast songs on this album, to be honest.  But as I stated there is a lot of varied instrumentation and sounds on Exitivm.   The pummeling mid-paced parts are played with such conviction – it’s really something new to a Pestilence album, in terms of how vicious some of these moments stand out.  The album cover with the space and Lovecraftian imagery is striking and goes perfectly with the soundscape of this album.  Menacing, brutal, atmospheric and otherworldly.  Exitivm  is a helluva album and one of the best releases for 2021, no doubt!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
June 21st, 2021


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