Presence of the Pest
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
There are always bands that you’ll never get to see live in this fine country that we live in. One of those acts for me is Dutch death metallers Pestilence. Originally formed in 1986 by guitarist and vocalist Patrick Mameli and drummer Marco Foddis, over the course of their on-again off-again career, Pestilence clocked up seven full length albums with their peaks undoubtedly including 1989’s Consuming Impulse, their third long player in 1991’s Testimony of the Ancients both of which followed on from their killer debut Malleus Maleficarum (1988). Suffice to say their earlier works sit best with this humble scribe.
After all these years, it’s interesting to see a Pestilence live album appear on the “available to review” radar. Even though Pestilence was active up until mid 2014 supporting the release of their latest studio effort Obsideo, Vic Records have seen fit to release Pestilence’s second live album. Titled Presence of the Pest, the album features two concerts from 1992 which would be from the support cycle for the epic Testimony of the Ancients album.
As far as live albums go, this one is pretty decent sounding thanks to the remastering by Tom Palms (Phlebotomized). The first concert is Pestilence’s performance at the legendary Dynamo Open Air festival on June 7, 1992. The mix is absolutely top notch. Every element of Pestilence’s sound is crystal clear. Mameli’s vocals are as biting as they sound when recorded in the studio and the band at the time are totally on fire. The setlist from this show is a brief ten tracks clocking in just shy of 45 minutes with half the set understandably so focussing on material from the band’s current album at the time, Testimony of the Ancients. It’s a compact performance that sounds killer which ultimately bodes well for Presence of the Pest.
The remainder of this release comes from a concert during the tour Pestilence did with Monstrosity and Torchure, recorded in Rotterdam from the same year as the preceding Dynamo appearance. The big difference is the dryer, almost scooped sound from the seven tracks that make up the last part of Presence of the Pest. Whilst overall these final tracks sound good, the latter half of the album just isn’t quite as involving as the Dynamo stuff. For want of a better word, this performance is a little dry sounding even if the band is sounding tight musically.
Live albums really do have a limited appeal. They are limited to those who are already a fan of the band and Presence of the Pest is no different in this regard. Pestilence fans who want to relish in the band engaging in any live arena will enjoy this album. If, like me, you’ve never had the chance to witness this legendary death metal act live before, perhaps this will be as good as being there. If not, well, it’s as good as it will get. Pestilence sound good and deliver the goods with this retrospective live release.
More from Pestilence
- Doctrine [review]