Reviewed: September 2020
Released: 2020 (original release: 2002), independent
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Originally released in 2002, Slaughtering the Faithful is the third (and for now, last) full-length album of Pessimist, now remastered and re-released independently, perhaps as a prelude to new material round the corner.
Slaughtering the Faithful is brutal death metal through and through. The vocals are low gurgles straight up from the guts, the drumming is a constant assault of blast beats and the riffing is a down-tuned maelstrom with occasional frantic, breathless bursts of solo work. It’s a familiar set of descriptors for a familiar form of music.
The strongest points are the overall atmosphere and the riffing, although the latter is buried under noise like a survivor stuck under a mound of corpses. When the riffs can be heard they can create some effective rhythms, and the album certainly succeeds in reproducing the discordant sounds of hell and torment that it obviously sets out to.
The problem is so many other bands are already doing that in exactly the same way. Granted, this album is almost 20 years old, so at the time of its creation the sound wouldn’t have been as dated as it sounds now, but even in 2002 this wasn’t pushing any boundaries. It still suffers from the same issues so many peers do: it all ends up as a lot of dissonant noise with very little structure or memorability. Every moment is yet another buzzsaw riff, yet another churning snarl, yet another blast beat (and the drums in this mix are particularly weak. There’s obvious talent behind the kit, but they end up sounding like muffled trash cans).
The is the occasional discernible riff or rhythm, a few moments where Pessimist ease off on the gas, but most of the time the album is just not interesting. It’s loud and noisy and chaotic, but rarely does it do anything with those aspects. If you’re a hardcore brutal death aficionado, Slaughtering the Faithful might be a decent enough listen once or twice, but for anyone else, this is just tiresome.