Tech Death Thursday: Pestilent Reign
We are slaves to the riff, and they are our masters. We’re getting mean with Pestilent Reign this Tech Death Thursday!
- Gorod just started recording vocals; having finished drums a couple weeks ago, I’m hoping to hear some new music soon.
- This is a thing.
Toilet Tuesday minion/lolbuttz connoisseur Bert Banana gave these guys a shoutout earlier this week, but I felt they deserved a little more of the spotlight. Plus, it’s just been a long time since we’ve had some straightforward, nasty death metal on TDT, and it’s time we took care of that. Pestilent Reign brings a punishing brand of tech death to bear, reminiscent of a combination of Psycroptic and Dying Fetus. They focus on speed and precision while keeping it heavy, and the album doesn’t let up for a moment.
You might expect a band with that kind of descriptor to do pretty much one thing; however, while the majority of the songs are indeed right around the same tempo and follow the same general structure, they inject each one with its own distinct personality. “Ouroboros” has kind of a cocky rock swagger to it, almost happy in comparison to the rest of the album, and it’s immediately followed up by the delightfully thrashy “Cleanse the Flesh” and technical monster “Zealot.” Homogeneity is a common pitfall for bands playing this style of music, and while album closer “Gutter’s Filth” is the only one to truly break the formula, Pestilent Reign by and large manage to avoid it through the diversity of their riffs.
Complaints are few and far between. I was initially a little iffy on the vocals, but they grew on me with each repeat listen; that harsh midrange scream complements the guitars really well, and there are a couple pig squeals and nasty lows sprinkled throughout. The instruments all sound good, but the guitars are a little too blasted out in the mix, drowning the bass almost entirely in most cases. It’s a shame, too; the few moments where the bass cuts through are insane, particularly on “Saviour.” Your bassist is really good; don’t be afraid to put him forward a little more!
Overall, Pyres is a damn fine album that should appeal to both tech nerds and more meat-and-potatoes death metal fans. It’s built on the strength of its riffs, and strong they are. From little jazz flourishes to creative (and frequent) use of pinch harmonics to their pummeling tremolo riffs, there’s a lot to keep you listening here. It only gets better with repeat listens, and its lean songwriting assures that none of those listens ever drags on.
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