Review 2236 : Pestilence – Levels of Perception – English

New try for Pestilence.

Elevated to legendary status thanks to adored albums at the start of their career, the Dutch band led by Patrick Mameli (guitar/vocals), now accompanied by Rutger van Noordenburg (guitar, Bleeding Gods, ex-Bloodphemy), Michiel van der Plicht (drums, ex-Apophys, ex-God Dethroned, ex-Prostitute Disfigurement… ) and Roel Käller (bass, Mayan) announced in 2024 the release of Levels of Perception, their tenth album on Agonia Records, featuring re-recordings of old tracks.

The original cover, made by artificial intelligence, was widely criticized, so the band decided to change it.

As I said, Pestilence is a legendary band that has left its mark on the history of Death Metal, but has also managed to renew itself between its various breaks, incorporating ever more elements and thus enriching its complexity. There are compositions from the band’s different eras, such as Horror Detox from 2009, or Land of Tears, released in 1991, whose mix sounds resolutely Old School, which was considered the standard at the time.

I checked my sound system several times before writing this paragraph, and I also made sure I was on the album’s official stream, but… the sentence is irrevocable: the mix is totally slaughtered. You recognize the tracks because you know them, but you don’t appreciate them because they’re so savagely distorted by this bland distant sound. Even the leads, originally harmonious and complex, are painful to listen to, and I’m not even going to mention the vocal parts, which are usually massive, but here sound like a radio broadcast from an underdeveloped country.

If you like Pestilence, don’t listen to this album. While the concept of re-recording may seem an interesting way of giving their flagship compositions a more contemporary sound, Levels of Perception manage the achievement of butchering them and making them unpleasant.


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