Released: 2017, Lavadome Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Once upon a time before technical death metal was a thing, you had a bunch of bands who were just beginning to become proficient with their instruments through cramming as many notes as possible into a riff and playing them as fast as humanly possible. I’m talking EATEN BACK TO LIFE-era Cannibal Corpse, Corpsegrinder-era Monstrosity and pre-chocolate milk and racism Malevolent Creation. It was a good time for death metal. Portugal’s Pestifer (Latin for “plaguebringer”) zeros in on that narrow window of history and breathes new life into it on their EXECRATION DIATRIBES debut.
There’s a faint whiff of “throwback” across EXECRATION DIATRIBES, but after multiple spins it’s clear that the trio have studied at the feet of the masters and have used this moment in metal history as a jumping off point. Save for an introductory build up, the tunes are merciless in their delivery, seething with the kind of pungent vitriol that makes classic death metal so appealing.
“Mars Exult” rockets out of the gate with a volley of riffs that grab your cranium and force it to bang uncontrollably. The sweep picking, the whammy bar solos, it’s a tremendous opener. “Brutal Eruption of Chaos” rips with classic rapid fire hammer-on riffs and artificial harmonic squeals, while “Awaken by Death” slowly crawls from a dingy, Asphyx-like repose into a galloping hell beast with an appetite for human flesh. “Riding the Storms of Hate MMXVI” is potentially my favorite track on EXECRATION DIATRIBES; originally appearing on Pestifer’s BRUTAL ERUPTION OF CHAOS demo, it’s a thrashier epic that pushes past the 7-minute mark and offers up some of the sickest shred on the entire album.
Pestifer’s brand of metal is familiar enough to get your attention, but original enough to keep your attention. If you’ve got any kind of love for traditional death metal and/or the scene’s glory days, EXECRATION DIATRIBES has your name written all over it.