The same way metal bands were judged by their quickly shortening haircuts in the early 90’s, so are the extreme metal bands of today judged by the quality of their logo and album artwork. When a fake/stolen version of the album artwork for ‘Hadeon’ had leaked and it looked more or less like the artwork of ‘Doctrine’ and ‘Obsideo’ a lot of folks assumed it would continue in the style of those records. Personally I can’t stand the last three Pestilence records and find the mix of groove metal with technical death metal production completely boring. Once the correct artwork and the preview track “Multi-Dimensional” were released my fears were temporarily assuaged. The track vaguely resembles ‘Spheres’ or ‘Testimony of the Ancients’, much more fondly remembered Pestilence records for most folks.
I’m just not really that type of dude, though! For me Pestilence was a big fuckin’ deal because of their two demo tapes and first two full-lengths. Their days with Martin Van Drunen were thrashed out, violent, and evoked a hint of Asphyx‘ power. The later albums seemed interested in meeting up with Atheist and Death on their adventure towards progressive metal you can bang your head to. Granted, it would be fair to say that Van Drunen isn’t amazing on vocals anymore and Pestilence have done well enough without him for decades. ‘Hadeon’ proves that more than the previous three albums and represents a successful imitation of where Pestilence left off in 1993. The orthodoxy felt on this new album is both pleasant and occasionally bland. The overall tribute to their old school death/thrash roots is just as serviced as their funkadelic, showy technical/progressive death metal roots. You’re not getting anything as cyborg-advanced as modern day Cynic… but ‘Hadeon’ has a charming space-metal groove that I can get on board with.
After several listens I began to shake off the feeling that I was being pandered to as a longtime worshiper of the band’s early days. The short songs and the re-creation of ‘Testimony of the Ancients’ corpse is admirable and occasionally charmingly unravels itself into mosh-metal riffing, ripping solos, and odd vocal effects. Pestilence has done what bands like Sadus aren’t capable of: Return to form after a few very out of touch albums. Ironic how reverting to the 90’s back from their very 00’s nu-metal/djent-ified chuggery could be seen as ‘out of touch’ but I don’t feel bad about it. I suppose if I haven’t been clear enough yet, I do enjoy this album. Pestilence have found a tasteful mid-point between their modernized ambitious sci-fi tech death sound and the original personality that made them death metal legends in the first place. Tracks like “Ultra Demons” and “Discarnate Entity” showcase a smart mix of old and new ideas that culminate into what might have been circa 1995 and fully make up for the lost time (disastrous albums) since 2009.
|Released||March 5, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Pestilence on Facebook|
Out of the bodacious. 3.25/5.0
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