Grimy death metal will always be welcome in my stereo any day, and that’s exactly what Los Angeles’ Pestilent Death has to offer on their second full-length Chapters of Depravity. With close to a decade having passed since their formation and plenty of releases to show for it, it’s clear that these guys have been honing their craft and with this album they deliver some of their most razor sharp and putrid riffs yet. It may not fall far from the sound you would expect from the death metal bands of old, but Pestilent Death does it justice and have substance underneath their filth and decay.
After a short, foreboding intro Chapters of Depravity comes lurching out of the gate with a dense, bottom heavy sound and gnarly riffs that feel like they can peel your skin right off. It’s the type of death metal that’s instantly appealing and makes you want to crank your volume up to the max so that you can feel the weight of each drum hit and bass line. Like some of the more recent bands from the West Coast you can hear a good deal of Autopsy influence to Pestilent’s Death approach, though they mix it up more frequently and avoid falling into the category of mere worship. The recording perfectly captures that grime and grit that makes this genre so filthy and violent, but the band has solid technical ability underneath it and there are enough variations between the songs that makes them stand out from one another. There is room for Pestilent Death to further distinguish themselves as they continue onwards, but when the material is this filthy and destructive it still gives listeners plenty of reasons to come back.
Conrado Gesualdi helps to put the energy level over the top with some of the more distorted and nightmarish growls I’ve heard recently. There’s a lot of depth to each growl and just when you think it’s filled out completely it expands even further and stands above the instrumentation with a monstrous presence. It helps that Chapters of Depravity places the vocals front and center rather than burying them in the mix, as this makes a significant difference. Pestilent Death also has their fair share of samples, particularly towards the end of the album, but they don’t overuse them and what’s there suits the material.
Pestilent Death may pull from familiar territory but they do it damn well and have standout riffs to back up their murky, lurching exterior. There’s a lot of death metal vying for your attention so far this year, but these guys deserve a spot in the collection of any old-school fan. Chapters of Depravity is out now from Rotted Life Recordsand Blood Harvest Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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