Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Pestilence - Consuming Impulse 
After delivering the awesome "Malleus Maleficarum" only a year earlier, Pestilence would unleash this monolith of death/thrash greatness on Christmas of 1989, and I could only imagine how awesome it would've been to unwrap a "Consuming Impulse" LP and see that near-iconic album cover staring back at me (what an unholy holiday that would've been). The thrashy record that preceded this one was a fantastic foundation for the Dutch quartet to build upon and they did just that, as nearly every aspect of the music on their sophomore is improved from the debut. The riffs, vocals, solos, songwriting, rhythm section and every other intangible part of the horrific music is better than it was on "Malleus Maleficarum," making "Consuming Impulse" a must-have for any fan of death metal, thrash metal or all around violent and gut-wrenching music made to crush bones and fracture skulls.
I can't pick just a single highlight of this record, as it's impossible to choose between Van Drunen's brilliant vocals and the excellent riff-fest courtesy of Patrick Mameli and Patrick Uterwijk. Van Drunen provided one of his best performances on this album (second only to his amazing work on "Last One on Earth"), as he no longer sounded like the thrash frontman from the prior album, but a man who personifies death. Put together his brand of death growls which sound like someone who is dying from a slow shotgun wound to the chest with song titles like "The Trauma" and "Reduced to Ashes" and you've automatically got a winner. Throw in some of the catchiest riffs around and you've got an instant masterpiece. It also helps that the rhythm section is improved as well. I can actually pick out drum fills that caught my attention throughout the record and I never had a problem with the drumming during faster parts of the music or the fills during slower and heavier moments. Even the inclusion of synths at points doesn't bother me as the break in "Suspended Animation" is one of the most memorable moments of the album. The riffs are brutalizing, the vocals are horrendously perfect and the headbanging inevitably painful, yet entirely satisfying.
When you kick off a record with a death/thrash classic like "Dehydrated" which features a terrific mix of thrashy and death metal influenced riffs, you've gotta wonder how the band would top that song later on, and then they do with another onslaught in "The Process of Suffocation." Every song features riffs of the "to-die-for" variety; riffs that are instantly ingrained in one's DNA and also induce plenty of whiplash, though no song has more chaotic and violent riffage than "Echoes of Death" which would put Demolition Hammer (the masters of violence) to shame. "Deify Thy Master" also balances out the heavy with the darker material with its sweet tremolo passages and melodies that foreshadowed what was to come later on in the band's constantly evolving discography. "Consuming Impulse" isn't only a vast improvement from the already stellar debut album, but a masterful work that has stood the test of time as one of the best death/thrash full-lengths ever. I can't recommend this album enough, so I'll let the music do the talking for me and if you haven't had the pleasure of listening to Pestilence's finest work, prepare to be reduced to ashes.
"The Process of Suffocation"
"Echoes of Death"