Pathology
The Everlasting Plague

I have to hand it to Pathology, after fifteen years of existence the band comes sneaking in here at the end of 2021 with what may just be their best album yet, their eleventh full-length album(???), The Everlasting Plague. Througout the band’s career their consistency can hardly be rivaled. Every album has arguably been a success for the band, ultmately achieving the goal Pathology have set for themselves, the goal of brutality. Sometimes the band brings nothing but meat and potatoes to the table while other times you get a dose of melodicism that is nothing short of the proverbial cherry on top of a perfect metal sundae. Through it all though the band  has always  managed to maintain their trademark sound of brutality. Doubly more impressive considering the multiple lineups that have come and gone (and come back again) through Pathology‘s prolific career.

From 2012 to 2018 the band became a studio only project with what could be considered the closest thing to a classic lineup for the group in the form of founder/drummer Dave Astor, guitarist Tim Tiszczenko, and vocalist Matti Way. Though it was during this time and amongst the three albums subsequently released, Lords of Rephaim, Throne of Reign, & Pathology, that my interest in the band began to wane. While neither of said albums are bad the band seemed to be regressing here and there a bit and also beginning to sound a little clinical and formulaic, a lot due to Astor’s drum machine like performances. In fact in my review of 2017’s self-titled album, I brought up that the album was good yet mediocre for the band and that they needed to up the ante with the melody, add a proper lead guitarist again, and break up and liven up Astor’s performances or the consequences could be dire. Well you know what? I’ll be damned if that’s not exactly what Pathology did.

With 2019’s Reborn to Kill, Astor put together a whole new lineup and brought Pathology out of the studio and back on the road with new blood, guitarist, Daniel Richardson (Condemned), vocalist, Obie Fleet (Inherit Disease), and bassist, Ricky Jackson. Bringing a revamped freshness and much stronger lead guitar and melodic sensibilities, Reborn to Kill was a damn fine step in the right direction if there ever was one. Now with The Everlasting Plague we get even more of what made Reborn to Kill a success. In fact, the band may have just crafted their catchiest and most mature and lead-tastic/melodic album of their career. Now don’t get me wrong, the band still swings the brutality like a ten-ton hammer, crushing all in its path(ology)… sorry, word play is fun and all….I would even dare to say that The Everlasting Plague is the band’s most accessible album. Take that with a grain of salt though, because even a cleaner, more focused and growing Pathology is still about as brutal as they come;, and if you couldn’t handle the oodles of broodles before, well, surprise! You still can’t. For the rest of you, prepare to be dazzled.

Fantastic album opener, “A Pound of Flesh”, starts out with a Cradle of Filth-ish sounding intro/opening before leading into some straight up tasty ass melodic guitar  finger tapping with crushing brutality quickly following. The slow down moment at the 3:21 mark is simply terrific and somewhat uncharted territory for the band. It works marvelously, accompanied with a slower lead that is wonderful in its simple beauty; almost Killswitch Engage-like, if I’m being honest. It’s so good and really does work well.

Making a plea for album highlight just halfway in is “Diseased Morality”, the track showing a different nuance and maturity to the band’s songwriting. Brutal death metal though more commanding in a pulled back way and mentality, maybe even more so as its overt heaviness meets an evil melodicism, with Richardson’s lead work being quite stellar as well. The song eventually ends, fading out in a nice dose of slammy riffing. “Corrosive Cranial Affliction” is simply just some awesome stuff. Brutal, moving, and catchy as fuck with a technical and melodic flair that wouldn’t necessarily sound different from something you might find on an At the Gates or The Black Dahlia Murder album. Obviously, that’s not a sleight. This is good shit with plenty of patented Patho-slamming brutality to boot.

“As the Entrails Wither” is another notable number as the track is a powerful driving force that mixes various tempos to its advantage resulting in a great representation of slams, blasts, grooves, and melodicism to more than a standard degree of success. The Everlasting Plague‘s last tracks I have lovingly resorted to referring to as the “triple D’s”…yeah, childish I know, but I never claimed to be high brow (just long-winded). “Dirge for the Infected”, Death Ritual Deciphered”, and “Decomposition of Millions” are extremely successful of how to close out an album of this caliber with finesse and fortitude. “Dirge for the Infected” showcases power and  dynamics in its clean picking and fat driving chords. Patho-bruto takes over with a mighty tech-death aplomb mixed into the fury of the catchy groove. The song’s solo work is so good and thought-out, nothing too crazy but definitely hitting the spot. The track fades out a  bit too soon for my liking though.

While “Death Ritual Deciphered” isn’t necessarily as “progressive” as some of The Everlasting Plague‘s other tracks, it is a fat Patho-styled classic that gives you everything you need from a brutal death metal band in a compact three minutes of power and authority. Album closer “Decomposition of Millions surprised me with it not only being an instrumental, but also for sounding more deathcore than I may have ever heard from the band. For some reason I just kept expecting a vocal onslaught to jump out at any moment yet that never happened. We do get some fantastic and damn near beautiful leads of melodicism at the 1:37 mark. The solo moves and eventually the song fades out into an outro not too far removed from the album’s intro, a totally awesome track.

I tend to gush a bit much about Pathology. I’ve always liked the band and have always found something of interest in all of their albums and having opened for both Pathology and Inherit Disease back in my playing days, and experiencing hospitality from the bands, seemed to have created a forever fan syndrome with me. Fanboy or not though, it’s clear to me that the band have used the time between Reborn to Kill and The Everlasting Plague to continue to gel as a band and as songwriters within the Pathology  parameters. Taking an additional year between releases seems to have paid off for the group, allowing more time for growth and reflection and the opportunity to build off the success of the previous album.

As a reviewer and a fan, I am more than happy to give Pathology credit where credit is due. I’m truly 100% satisfied with not only The Everlasting Plague but the possible directions the group could continue to take from here. In all honesty, I can find zero faults with  The Everlasting Plague. If I had to be a nitpicking bastard I guess I could say that at 40 minutes run time the album could probably use a tad of self-editing to bring things together to a compact 30-35 minutes, yet with material this good I think 40 minute does just fine.

The Everlasting Plague is a smart move for Pathology. Especially given the fact that they are now on Nuclear Blast Records, the top dog for a band of their style/genre. The band has no doubt made the most of their career, changing when needed, be it bandmembers or album labels, touring or not, and tweaking their sound for the best, nothing seems to have held back the entity that is Pathology. Hopefully, for the sake of this fanboy, nothing ever will.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
December 7th, 2021

Comments

  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    Fanboy or not, this is an excellent record worthy of the praise in your review. I’m digging it.


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Exocrine - The Hybrid Suns
  • Saor - Origins
  • Municipal Waste - Electrified Brain
  • Conjurer - Páthos
  • Intoxicated - Watch You Burn
  • Inanimate Existence - The Masquerade
  • Demiricous - III: Chaotic Lethal
  • Kreator - Hate über alles
  • Enshroudment - As the Light is Extinguished EP
  • Hanging The Nihilist - Prophetic Blasphemy
  • Cabinet - Claustrophobic Dysentery
  • Origin - Chaosmos
  • Nekkromaniac - Plague Eater
  • Alestorm - Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum
  • Abythic - Eden Of The Doomed EP