Sunday Sesh: The Big Release – Pestilence’s Hadeon

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A return to their roots or another failed experiment? The work of a true elite alpha or some overblown conspiracy nonsense? Something less black and white but no less mythic in scope? Hadeon, the eighth edict of legendary Dutch death metal band Pestilence was loosed into the wilds last week, over a month ahead of its planned release, to coincide with the band’s European endeavor. This is your forum for discussing Hadeon and its potential as a return to form.

Late Thursday night, Hadeon surreptitiously appeared on Bandcamp to zero fanfare from the band or their label, Hammerheart Records. Although initially believed to be an error, a calculated move to spread the truth from an inside source eager to reveal Patrick Mameli’s insidious plot for the subjugation of our race, an official statement on Friday revealed that the release was indeed no false flag. Pestilence, about to embark on their Fight the Plague tour, chose to foment even more excitement among their fanbase by offering the bubonic loyal a chance to hear the record digitally beforehand. If you haven’t given Hadeon a spin yet, now’s your chance.

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If it wasn’t immediately apparent from the first few tracks, let me level with you; Hadeon is a (mostly) classic Pestilence album with a meatwagon worth of killer riffs and a festering nastiness that is distinct to the Dutchmen. It spans thirteen tracks and runs a tight 39 minutes, almost all of which is sans bloat waste. And, mercifully, it doesn’t sound at all like Doctrine or Obsideo.

So where does that place the album in the band’s grand hierarchy of evolution? Somewhere between their last classic album, Spheres, and their first comeback, Resurrection Macabre. Progressive proclivities are married to ferrous riffs in a natural bridge from the funky, bass-driven exploration of the band’s early phase to the rancid, shambling wight rhythms of the middle period. Mameli’s sneers and Lich-like snarls sound much closer to Resurrection than Doctrine, thankfully, and the guitar tone is decidedly old-school sleaze.

That’s not to say there isn’t a bit of cheese in the record. The initially plagiarized album art seemed to capture more than just the aesthetic of the record; robotic vocals and sci-fi interludes creep up here and there, evoking a far more modern theme of extraterrestrial technology than the reverent, quasi-mysticism of older works like Testimony of the Ancients. Thankfully, if you find the vocoder and digital blips and bleeps distracting, they’re used sparingly.

More common are jazzy bass loops and ravenous chords reminiscent of the early days of Martin van Drunen and Tony Choy. “Ultra Demons” hits hard and fast, and “Materialization” festers and wriggles with all the malevolence of the grave. For as often as it feels like an expeditious trip into the outer reaches, Hadeon’s heart is still that of a putrid, angry ghoul.

In short, Hadeon is the missing link fans have wanted for some time. True, some of the unfettered sickness of the band’s more dissonant persona is missing, and the drums are a wee bit less adventurous than we’ve come to expect, but if you like riffs with a bit of flavor, you’ll find much to love here. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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