Pestilence – Malleus Maleficarum (Review)

Pestilence are now known as death metal masters but on their 1988 debut album the Dutchmen were still in the process of pushing the Kreator-style thrash of their demos to increasingly aggressive extremes. The crunchy riffs, violent tempos, moshing breakdowns and vocal phrasing are pure thrash but the sickening bludgeon of the delivery and the Schuldiner-esque bark of Martin Van Drunen put the band on a collision course with the emergent death metal of the era. The lyrics aren’t much of a read but obsessions with science, atrocity and surgery also push things deathward (“bifurcation of the tumour”) and provide great vocal hooks for Van Drunen’s authoritative vocals in tracks like Parricide and Chemotherapy. Although they had yet to mature stylistically, Pestilence’s formidable songwriting and precision brutality makes this a must for fans of death and thrash. It’s named after the infamous “Hammer Of The Witches” treatise, yet Malleus Maleficarum is so magical from front to back that you could well suspect this band of sorcery.

12 thoughts on “Pestilence – Malleus Maleficarum (Review)”

  1. I kinda like that tune, y’know… not really my usual thing, but it’s surprisingly melodic, dig the guitar ‘breaks’, and I don’t mind the vocals, either. Shouty, but none of that screamy barking or anything.

    Cheery bunch, by the sounds of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea. I doubt I can ever sufficiently repay you.

    The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches… was a bestseller, second only to the Bible in terms of sales for almost 200 years. [Wikipedia]

    Liked by 2 people

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