What makes a legendary band? Is it enough to be ahead of your time? Or is it simply about writing great music? So many questions to answer all with an array of deep answers. To me a legendary band is one of some sort of historical importance. Whether that be through being ahead of the game or simply writing a killer album, normally though those who stick out and stand the test of time are those that have, and continue to have something to give, a certain power about them. The power to come across as a driving force of strength, might and sheer mind blowing talent.
In this case we look towards a slight bearing of technicality in the obviously legendary Netherlands based Pestilence. Pestilence’s career has been long and with a huge range of twists and turns, starting out as a Thrash Metal band in 1986 the band went on to develop their sound over the coming years into more Death Metal territory. Albums such as Consuming Impulse and Testimony Of The Ancients have gone down in history as highly regarded tomes of expert Death Metal. Then again in 1993 Pestilence shocked the world with Spheres which arguably pushed Technical Death Metals boundaries with its Jazz Fusion influence and eventually caused the band the split. Upon their return in 2008 the band released a slew of albums until all went quiet again after 2013’s Obsideo, which in my mind was starting to show promise for the Death Metal overlords. However we now come to 2018 and with a wealth of new Pestilence in Hadeon, put out through Hammerheart Records, but does it contain the legendary flare us Death Metallers do so lust after?
Hadeon kicks off with Unholy Transcript a bizarre orchestrated, atmospheric introduction which carries the astral themes of this Sci-Fi audio journey. Straight after we are thrust into the black hole of Non Physical Existent which exhibits minor Technical elements along with an old school Death Metal/ Thrash flare that carries itself throughout. It also begins the album long trend of belting out the name of the song in some sort of anthemic chorus fashion, this is exhibited on most tracks with some stand outs being, Oversoul, Discarnate Entity and Manifestations. This trend might seem a little tired but it works, it draws you into the fray of Pestilence. Speaking of vocals, amongst the classic Death Metal growls are some robotic tones in Astral Projection and Ultra Demons both of which are extremely strong songs, probably the best on the album, which begs the questions should this trait have been abused more?
Instrumentally this album has its moments of Thrash, Death and Tech none of which are out of the park or laced with a great deal of insanity but it still makes for an overall decent, catchy sound with well constructed riffs. The instrumental track, Subvisions does display some mind altering bass riffs and is generally one of the most technically impressive points in this 40 minute science lesson. Solo’s are however, unlike the ridiculous bass, milked. This isn’t the most offensive thing though, most of the solos namely those on Multi Dimensional are tinged with Tech and add a certain extra terrestrial element to this other worldly mixture of apocalyptic chaos.
To summarize I actually think Hadeon is very strong, it’s almost a weird retrospective of Pestilence’s career and whilst certain elements could have been ramped up it is still a solid release. Let’s face it the glory days of Pestilence or Death Metal for that matter are long gone and we should be thankful that bands like Pestilence are still here to deliver modern tunes, Hadeon is a UFO ride into a inter-dimensional portal of Technical Thrashy Death Metal madness, it may not be as brutal as some modern Technical Death Metal albums but these guys will always be kings of Death Metal.
(8/10 George Caley)