Pestilence – The Underworld, London

June 1st, 2009
by Hanntu

Pestilence

with Vreid and The New Dominion

Live at The Underworld

12th April 2009

Live review and pics by HannTu

Atheist and Cynic in 2006. Pestilence in 2008. I can see a pattern starting to emerge…In all seriousness though, unless there’s cloning technology that will bring us back Chuck Schuldiner and resurrect Death, fans of old school progressive death metal have pretty much been in heaven over the last year or so. Cynic playing Wacken and releasing a new album, Pestilence releasing a new album and returning to the touring circuit, and a new Atheist album on the cards…incredible.

The resurrection of Pestilence probably raised the most eyebrows though, and frontman/guitarist Patrick Mameli moved quickly to quell any rumours that him and Martin van Drunen had made up and reunited under Pestilence’s banner. In fact, Tony Choy is the only person in the current line-up to have played in Pestilence before. But no matter, their recently released album RESURRECTION MACABRE promises much for the future of these Dutch guys.

Thanks to the dedication of Paul and Felicity at Arcane Promotions (the people who bring the excellent Deathfest annually to London), we had the chance to see Pestilence right here on our doorstep, instead of traipsing over half of Europe to catch them at festivals – although no doubt we’ll be doing that in the summer anyway!


The New Dominion

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Fellow countrymen The New Dominion kicked off the night. To be honest, the Dutchmen sounded very much like trite metalcore/melodic death metal – clichéd At The Gates/twin guitar riffing with shouty/screamy vocals and occasional clean singing. Nothing too imaginative and certainly not very much that was original, although the interplay between the two guitarists was excellent and tight, and they benefited from a brilliant sound onstage. Unfortunately it was the singing that really got on my nerves; not only were the clean vocals weak, even the growls and screams were grating after a while.

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Vreid

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Vreid arose from the ashes of black/folk band Windir after the unfortunate death of vocalist Valfar in 2004. You could actually call this Windir Mk II, considering that three out of their four members played in Windir, if not for the fact that they sound nothing like their old stuff. They combine rock/punk sensibilities with black metal to create a novel, if slightly weird, sound. Vreid suffered from an appalling lack of volume onstage on the night, which detracted from the atmosphere. Although the crowd seemed to enjoy the band’s performance, I wasn’t really hooked, and headed out to buy some batteries for my steadily failing flashgun.

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Pestilence

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Patrick Mameli cuts quite a lovable figure onstage. He appeared to be completely high on some substance or other, repeatedly saying “We love you! I love you!” to the crowd and thanking us repeatedly for coming out and making them feel welcome. It’s a wonder that he could still play. But boy, did they play.

I consider it a privilege to have watched the legend that is Tony Choy in action. Some of those basslines would be fatally difficult to replicate on a guitar with a pick, and he plays them with his fingers while managing to headbang and thrash around. The rest of the band were no less virtuoso, and they were as tight as a band that has been playing together for years and years. They are all amazing musicians in their own right, and Peter Wildoer (Darkane) is a hidden gem in the world of death metal.

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Promoting their latest album RESURRECTION MACABRE seems to be their main aim, with six songs from the new album finding their way on to the set. Sandwiched between the new stuff are old favourites like ‘Chemo Therapy’ (sadly, the only song from MALLEUS MALEFICARUM), ‘Lost Souls’ from TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENTS and ‘Chronic Infection’ from CONSUMING IMPULSE. Patrick Mameli even found a bit of humour in the fact that SPHERES was so universally detested, and they played ‘Mind Reflections’ from that much-maligned album.

Kudos must go to Felicity and Paul at Arcane Promotions, the worthy folk who bring the Deathfest to London every year. Pestilence was a major coup for them, and the band itself should go from strength to strength on the back of good material, both new and old, and a killer live show.

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Setlist

Devouring Frenzy

Horror Detox

Chemo Therapy

The Process of Suffocation

Fiend

Hate Suicide

Chronic Infection

The Secrecies of Horror

Mind Reflections

Hangman

Synthetic Grotesque

Lost Souls

Out of the Body

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Thanks to Felicity and Paul at Arcane Promotions for the photo pass!

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