Reviewed: February, 2018
Released: 2018, Hammerheart Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
FINALLY. It may have taken 2 reformations and 4 albums of going through the motions, but Patrick Mameli has finally remembered what a Pestilence album is supposed to sound like. HADEON is the first new album since Mameli re-reformed Pestilence, but it’s also the first album on this side of the 21st century that truly sounds like what you remember classic Pestilence sounding like.
To be fair – 2013’s OBSIDEO was a good album on its own merits, but HADEON sounds like an album that could’ve been released between TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENTS and SPHERES. The down-tuned, 8-string chug that was so prevalent across more recent material has been swapped out in favor of more traditional, hyper-speed death metal, albeit with plenty of the dissonant sci-fi overtures that put the band on the tech death map so many years ago. And with most of the 13 new tunes barely scratching the 3-minute mark, there’s a fiery sense of urgency that hasn’t been heard on a Pestilence disc since the Martin Van Drunen days. Whether it’s pandering for the sake of nostalgia or a genuine creative renaissance, HADEON is the album that old school Pestilence fans have been waiting for.
Following a grandiose buildup that intersects across tribal and cybernetic themes, “Non Physical Existent” charges out of the gate like a bull on amphetamines. Surrounded by familiar staccato riffs, blast beats, and extra-terrestrial guitar noodling, it feels like a sort of homecoming. “Multi Dimensional” follows suit, picking up some SPHERES-like atonal progressions along the way (but sounding WAY less obnoxious this time around) and providing new lead guitarist Santiago Dobles his first opportunity to really stretch his legs. Further into HADEON, we find straight up gems like “Astral Projections” with its OSDM by way of intergalactic communicator precision, the fretless bass jazzicide of “Subdivisions” (a spiritual successor to “Soulless”?), and the raging shred of “Ultra Demons”. There are a lot of common threads and themes across HADEON, but each track has a purpose and delivers upon that purpose.
HADEON harkens back to a time when technical death metal was actually just a really good death metal album with some performance chops and maybe some knowledge of music theory, and not the over the top “look how complicated I can make things” wankery that the sub-genre has become synonymous with. For sure, Pestilence (and by proxy Mameli himself) lost its way into those kind of distractions, but there were apparently enough breadcrumbs to find its way out of the woods. HADEON is really good death metal album with some performance chops and some knowledge of music theory, but more than that, it validates Pestilence being back in the game in 2018.
1. Unholy Transcript / 2. Non Physical Existent / 3. Multi Dimensional / 4. Oversoul / 5. Materialization / 6. Astral Projection / 7. Disincarnate Entity / 8. Subvisions / 9. Manifestations / 10. Timeless / 11. Ultra Demons / 12. Layers of Reality / 13. Electro Magnetic
Patrick Mameli – Bass, Guitars, Vocals
Septimiu Hărşan – Drums
Tilen Hudrap – Bass
Santiago Dobles – Lead Guitars