Many of the German extreme metal bands that we've reviewed on this site in the past have both blown us away and left a positive impression on the underground heavy music scene. Pestilent Reign is one such act rooted in death metal that we're dying to have a crack at. Started in 2013 Stuttgart, Germany, this four piece has released two EPs in the years following its inception. In addition, the band was also associated with such labels as Rising Nemesis Records and Rebirth The Metal Productions and already shared the stage with the likes of Wormed, Analepsy, & Abysmal Torment at metal festivals.
Pestilent Reign has finally and officially unveiled their debut full length album, titled Pyres, via the Rising Nemesis Records label, both digitally and physically on CD. The brand new 39 or so minute release is packed with eight tracks of fast paced deathly heaviness and includes themes of injustice, the religious bigotry of man, and other real-life aspects. The musical content on this album stands as a mixture of fast paced death metal a la Aborted and Dying Fetus with some technical elements and undertones from other genres like hardcore. The cover art was courtesy of Abomination Imagery of Indonesia, who has collaborated with Human Mastication and Korpse in the past.
Riff-wise this band does an overly decent job at emulating the essence of what it means to be a swift and somewhat technical death metal band in the vein of Dying Fetus and such. Overall, I'd say the instrumentals are solid as hell with all the blast beats, double bass drumming action, strumming and more being accounted for. The stellar production job by Christoph Brandes, who has worked with Necrophagist prior, gives the music a ton of justice as well as a lot of clarity and awesome listening quality...the mixing is pretty great I'll just say. The vocals that are on here display adequate energy and presence, with them being more interesting on some tracks than others (we'll discuss that more a bit later). This band definitely isn't afraid to branch out and demonstrate their abilities, with the complex riffing patterns and sprawling transitions being everywhere. Most notably, the strongest tracks on Pyres to me were "Martyr" for its fast and technical riffing and distinct vocal variety and "Zealot" as well as "Gutter's Filth" due to their engaging melodies, breakdowns, and overall feel. The guest solo in "You Will Kneel In Piss And Blood" by Alexandro Kalogeris is a treat to listen to as well. Some of the bass drops and lines were subtle, but a nice touch nonetheless.
"Cleanse The Flesh", at least to me personally, is a pretty underwhelming song compared to the others. The riffs are there but they're not as entertaining as the rest of the album. Also, the vocals are energetic and fitting for the music at hand, but there coud've been more variety or dynamicism thrown in at some points, such as squeals like the one in "Martyr" or more of the high vocals.
In all, Pyres is a very solid addition to the Pestilent Reign discography and a pleasing first album, to say the least. It exhibits all of the fine workings and necessary elements of a great death metal release and is rapidly paced with entertaining and formidable musicianship and concepts. Aside from the very small flaws mentioned before, this album exceeds on nearly all fronts and is worthy of being ranked up there with the greats. This is one that I'd highly recommend to the death metal fanatics out there and it is surely one album that you should not miss out on. Cheers.
Fave Tracks: "Martyr", "Zealot", "Gutter's Filth"
For Fans Of: Aborted, Misery Index, Dying Fetus
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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