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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pestilence - Testimony of the Ancients

PEST002Every death metal fan during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s must have heard of Pestilence. This classic band was one of the many to fall from grace during the mid ‘90s when the death metal scene became saturated with mediocre bands and the world (or at least America) had turned its ears to grunge.

Pestilence began in Holland in the mid ‘80s as a brutal thrash band. The lineup, consisting of Martin van Drunen (bass/vocals), Patrick Mameli (guitar), Randy Meinhard (guitar), and Marco Foddis (drums), recorded two demos before gaining the attention of Roadrunner Records. These two demos, Infected (’86) and Dysentery (’87), were pretty raw affairs, sounding somewhat like a cross between Possessed and Schizophrenia-era Sepultura. After signing to Roadrunner, Pestilence unleashed their debut album Malleus Malficarum in ’88, further refining their approach to brutal thrash. Although the album was considered a “try out” for the label, the new material was tighter and more focused than the demo material, and was a killer debut nonetheless.

But before long, guitarist Randy Meinhard left the band to pursue other musical avenues. PEST001His new band, Sacrosanct, went on to record three albums: Truth is, What is (1990, classic old school thrash), Recessed for the Depraved (1991, focused and mature thrash), and Tragic Intense (1993, haunting and depressing thrash). Their debut was released on No Remorse Records while the latter two were on 1MF Records.

Meanwhile, Pestilence had acquired a new guitarist by the name of Patrick Uterwijk. And in 1989, the band released its second album Consuming Impulse. Gone were the days of thrash! Consuming Impulse was a full transformation to death metal. From a musical standpoint, things got much heavier and more haunting. And vocally, Martin van Drunen moved away from the cleaner vocals in favor of the sick, twisted, acidic growling everyone has come to love.

PEST005But a lineup change occurred once again. This time, vocalist/bassist Martin van Drunen left to front a new band. That band was Asphyx, one of the kings of doom-death metal. Filling in for the departed original vocalist/bassist Theo Loomans (RIP), Martin went on to record the classic monstrosity The Rack (1991), as well as the Crush the Cenotaph EP (1992) and Last One on Earth LP (1993), all of which were released on Century Media Records. Martin also had a brief stint in the death metal band Comecon, providing vocals on the band’s second album Converging Conspiracies (1993, Century Media Records), which was the band’s best album both vocally and musically. Word had it that Martin also formed a band called Submission, supposedly with Randy Meinhard. It is uncertain, to me at least, whether or not this is true, and if so, what the band ever recorded.

PEST004Pestilence was faced again with the challenge of replacing a member, being without a vocalist and bassist. So while recording their third album Testimony of the Ancients (1991), they enlisted bassist Tony Choy, who at the time was playing with technical death metallers Cynic, who were in their demo stage. Patrick Mameli then took over vocal duties and with this lineup, released the album and toured for it. At a time when death metal was exploding from various regions of the planet, Testimony of the Ancients was probably the album most people became familiar with first. The new material wasn’t as abrasive and twisted as the previous album, but the band’s musicianship continued to grow, the direction became even more focused, and the album had the best production job of the band’s catalog.Pestilence-live dynamo-front

Good Fan site

Pestilence - Live at Dynamo Open Air festival 1992

Although, there is an official version part of Mind reflexion

This one, I do believe it is the bootleg version.

Tell me if i am wrong…Pestilence-live dynamo-back

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