Pestifere Provide Plenty of Hope Misery Death

“Vulgar apes, flailing through time and space… trampling, consuming… robbing history from those who have no voice. [Human structures are] monuments to our death… forged on the lifeblood of the earth.”

This is a familiar sentiment to anyone who’s listened to just about any metal record, well… ever, but especially in the last decade as artists turn their hatred increasingly inward and find a bleak, bottomless well of inspiration: humanity is scum and our ‘reverse meritocracy’ of rewarding the loudest, brashest and least compassionate among us is perverse. Thankfully Pestifere have created a paean to the ways of old on Hope Misery Death not through lyrics full of Norse imagery, layer upon layer of keyboards or a bloviated fantasy concept story, but through a refined, straightforward four-piece attack of pure aggression.

And despite the murky, monochrome album art shown at the top of the article, this isn’t a cavernous ultra lo-fi black metal record by a band of hateful Icelanders (although the band’s hometown of Minneapolis probably experiences equally horrible winters) – the overall sound here is a thrashy, blackened melodic metal with juuust enough of a smoky, pagan char on specific riffs to complete the sentiment of eschewing civilization and returning to an uncivilized world. But you won’t find any Moonsorrow-isms or Renaissance Faire instruments here. This is music for a late autumn live performance at a dank bar with a dark beer in hand and a long, cold drive home during which you can let your mind sink into what you’ve just heard.


Opening straight away with “Don’t Let The Winter Take You” (see? what was I just saying about winters?) it quickly becomes apparent that the twin guitar attack is the primary focus of these songs, and for good reason. Guitarists Lucas and Aaron trade off in stereo channels between rhythms, leads, brassy chords, intricate picking and a mixture of each. Both have mastered a Keep of Kalessin style of fast riffing and palm muting that allows chords to shine through where necessary, and elsewhere allows for stretches of wrist-wrecking tremolo runs (see 2:30 on “Cormorant Tree”). It’s enjoyable enough simply listening to what each guitar is doing in each song.

Which brings me to the production – it, refreshingly, has a bit of auditory space between instruments that complements the vibe of each song and provides plenty of room for all the aforementioned guitar play, plus the frenetic drums which never seem to stay in-groove for too long before either dropping or increasing pace for the next riff section. The bass is solid, tight and appropriately gritted up for this style, but unfortunately buried in the mix a bit; it would have been ideal to bring it up a tad and and give it more presence as the midway point between the guitar and rhythm section. Same goes for the vocals, which are just harsh enough to meet the blackened thrash requirement, but not so spiky as to throw its hat into the ring with any one genre. All elements play a little fast and loose with each other, which again contributes to that fantastic refined, straightforward four-piece attitude.


Tracks like “Peregrine’s Timbre” slow the pace down, up the atmosphere and prepare you for one of the album’s two acoustic pieces, “Dispirit,” which has more in common with an old Randy Rhoads demo than with any number of similar acoustic album breaks by black, thrash or pagan metal bands. Later tracks like “Tomb of Monumental Decay” begin with a bit of shuffling drag, but that doesn’t last long before the blastbeats and rapid pace take over and the riffs once again trade off between left and right, low end and percussion. “Mine Is A Strange Prison” restores the melodic thrash atmosphere and sprinting solos before finishing with the final acoustic number “To Those Who Lost Their Home,” a beautiful display of simple, harmonious playing.

The only bit of nitpicking I have, aside from the vocals and bass being a bit buried, is that some of the riffs and emotions in these songs seem like they’d benefit so much from just a little more studio sparkle: a few echoed guitar lines in the background to complement the rhythm guitars, a dash of additional vocals for punch during the chorus, etc. Nothing enormous or super high budget, just the little things that give something extra to really bring out the power in each moment. That said, Pestifere present a seriously badass thrash/black combo on Hope Misery Death that I’d highly recommend for any listener. Here’s hoping their next offering is just as good.



Hope Misery Death is available on CD & cassette via Eihwaz Recordings, July 15, 2016

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Published on: July 18, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Reviews

Views: 565

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  • atchdav

    Listened to this on the drive to work this morning. Solid album.

  • Dubbbz

    Solid review, Robit. I’ll definitely be checking this out.

  • Good work, Cybro. I’m digging very very very much the guitar melodies!!! This is right up my alley, it reminds me of old Swedish Melodic Death Metal <3 Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    blackthrash started out last year, that and the cavernous stuff looking like this years fotm

  • Joaquin Stick

    Only had one headphone in for awhile, popped the other one in and realized I was missing half the guitar work. Looks like I gotta start all over again. Solid review!

    • Abradolf Lincler

      that stereo sound tho . . .

  • Eliza

    The guitarwork is solid and the vocals aren’t anything to write home aout, but they work well with the instrumentation. I like this.

  • Hans Müller

    Should’ve guessed who wrote this right away when the humanbashing started.
    Good wordsmithing though. The guitars are cool, but is it enough? Time will tell.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Their words, not mine!

  • Next time I order a steak I’m going to request a “pagan char” on it.

    • Dubbbz

      That’s a steak that’s been lightly blackened on the sacrificial altar.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      You can order one at the party. Hey I’ll see you there.

  • Tomb of Mountainal Dew is a straight ripper! was jamming the album whilst at work at this one (track #6) stood out. it really drives home some Rust In Peace-era thrashwork in the middle!

  • *vapes*
    *flails through time and space*

  • Ayreonaut


    • CyberneticOrganism

      You’re Winner!

  • Waynecro

    Excellent review! These are some pretty good jams. I can dig it. Thanks!

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    I’m really liking their riffs. The tremolo in “Cormorant Tree” is really doing it for me. The vocals are alright with me, nothing spectacular, but solid. Thanks Mr. Cybro. Killer tunes.