PESTILENCE – Obsideo
Transformation seems to be an adequate description of Dutch band Pestilence through the years. Early on in their career they performed in the thrash genre, started incorporating death metal and progressive/ jazz elements by 1989, and these days appear to be straddling the lines of death metal and progressive/jazz/ fusion on their last couple of studio records. "Obsideo" is their latest, and one that will take a few listens to truly understand – as vocalist/ guitarist Patrick Mameli, guitarist Patrick Uterwijk and new recruits bassist Georg Maier and drummer David Haley certainly know their way around their instruments.
Sometimes the jackhammer precision is spot on for hair windmill action- check out "Nercomorph" with its cyber/electronic nuances and the interesting juxtaposition between David’s blast beats against this slow churning riffs that mutate into low tuned pitch bends for "Saturation". Patrick’s vocals are within the gruff/ growl category, discernible with a John Tardy twinge to some of the trailing words and phrasing- listen to "Transition" and the chaotic title cut for his vicious larynx.
As I take in these 10 tracks numerous times, I’m left befuddled at the jigsaw puzzle construction of these parts into a semblance of songs. Just when you think you can get into a steady hook that starts "Aura Negative", the band moves into a shape shifting speed riff, throws down a few jazzy licks and a bass bounce part and you wonder what is going to ever remain in your brain at the song’s conclusion. David works his behind off in terms of tackling all the rhythm and tempo changes- often at a moment’s notice- but it doesn’t mean a hill of beans if the technicality can’t be translated into songs one can get into at a head and heart level.
"Obsideo" is decent, but another Pestilence album that will only get modest returns in comparison to their classic "Consuming Impulse" days.