The Pestilent Plague
Released: 2000, Necropolis Records
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Ooooh ja!!! SVEEEEDISH DEATH METALLLLLLL!!!! This is the kind of CD that lights a demonic fire in your eyes, breaks you out in a cold sweat and gets you reaching for the nearest weapon of mass destruction to unleash all manner of mayhemic hell. The blood-drenched, bullet-spewing sound of In Aeternum is great stuff to one hooked on the bone-dry, punishing buzz-saw style of the Swedes, and The Pestilent Plague is exactly as nasty, rude and spiteful as its title would indicate.
When I first put this on and perused the opening track, “The Apocalypse Division,” I could have sworn this sounded like black metal. Then I realized the warbling of what I thought was another moody synth was actually a wall of melodic guitars, doing their stuff under blistering layers of crackly, tight, speedy stuff. Vocalist/guitarist David Larsson also has a very black metallish screech which reminded me of Dimmu Borgir at times. Nonetheless, I believe In Aeternum styles themselves as a death metal band, however much they might have borrowed stylistically from the black metal scene. Methinks they don’t care that much. Clearly their primary mission is to destroy everything in sight as quickly and completely as possible, and this mission is mostly successful. It’s business as usual for a while, but the second track, “Eternal Devastation,” really hits a slaughterous pace about midway through, and it keeps up pretty well after that. The drummer’s blast beats keep up so consistently that you’re almost exhausted by the end of this album. Nonetheless, there’s a fair amount of melody here. What I like about the Swedish death sound is that it is melodic, but you have to search for the melody through what sounds to the untrained ear like mindless grinding. The fifth track, “Demon Possession” presents an excellent example of this phenomenon. Probably my favorite track, however, is “Wolves Blood,” which begins at a vaguely doomy pace without losing any of the heaviness or punishing, harsh quality, then launches into full-on attack with buried melodies fleshing out the body of the song. Excellent work, guys!
I have only a promo copy of this CD, unfortunately, and I’d love to see the full version. The band pic on the back shows us three very metal-looking dudes illuminated from below as if by the fires of hell. Their ostensible leader sports a pentagram, black metal-style spiked gauntlets, a studded belt, bullets, and two strands of completely gratuitous chains, just in case you were in any danger of misperceiving his awesome metalness. If the pics of the band in the CD booklet are like this, I definitely need to get a non-promo copy!
Good stuff all around here. It’s not Dismember, In Flames or Unleashed, but it’s damn good. If you enjoy aural masochism (come on, you know you do!), this album is an excellent investment.