By Matt Tulini
CD Stock Number: Displeased Records D-00061
Mixing thrash with elements of death metal, Pestilence revolutionized metal with this their first album, Malleus Maleficarum. The production is not so great, but this is Pestilence is at their most brutal. Three songs immediately jumped out at me when I listened to this: "Malleus Maleficarum/Antropomorphia", "Extreme Unction", and "Chemo Therapy". Three unrelenting songs of death no one should miss. Although most pick the following album Consuming Impulse as their favorite, no songs stood out for me.
Vocals on this album are not quite the cookie monster vocals of Death, but they're unnaturally deep nonetheless. The drumming is loud in the mix and loaded with blast beats like any death metal band, but it's varied enough so it doesn't sound like the same song over and over. Rhythm and lead guitar work is excellent on the album, although there's no over-the-top soloing. Malleus is a well-rounded album as far as metal albums go.
On their third album, Testimony of the Ancients, Pestilence changed to a "technical death" band (along the lines of Atheist or Death). Progressive bands like Death, Cynic, Atheist, and Sadus, were all signed to Roadrunner Records, but I don't know why they really switched. All I do know is that Roadrunner wouldn't touch these bands with a ten-foot pole these days.
Sound Quality: 60