Pestilent Death - Chapters of Depravity [Blood Harvest - 2019]Three years after 2016's Eulogies of Putrefaction, Los Angeles' Pestilent Death is back with their follow-up, Chapters of Depravity. Old-school to the core, Pestilent Death bring their riffs, fuzz, and horror movie samples to the masses via Blood Harvest and Rotted Life. Available on CD, vinyl, and, ugh, cassette, Pestilent Death's sophomore effort arrives just in time to darken one's summer days.
One of the most endearing characteristics of death metal is its timelessness. While this isn't meant in the sense that in one hundred years from now that all death metal will sound fresh (some doesn't a year after it's recorded), it is meant that classic styles have yet to go out of fashion. Pestilent Death's Chapters of Depravity isn't breaking any new ground or pushing any envelope, but if one were to get aphoristic, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Bands come and bands go, and many will try their hand at changing a tried and true formula. For the most part, it may work for an album, but there isn't the wherewithal to continue to grow, so these bands invariably get folded back into the footnotes of metal history, resurfacing from time to time to shred forth and keep fans happy. Then there are the bands that play a tried and true, straight to the bone style, played with passion and care, that while it may feel a little too familiar, it is still comfortable. Sure, one may have had one's fill of Ed Gein and Captain Rhodes samples, but these are most likely the samples one heard when one first got into the genre. Knowing when they'll trail off and into the chugging guitar is a welcoming back to one's youth. Pestilent Death does this via low, guttural vocals belching forth over buzzing riffs and pounding drums. Playing more toward the raw and brutal end of the spectrum, the gruff delivery and somewhat grime coated sound adds a wonderful charm, like finding a dubbed cassette on the side of the road and experiencing something brand new and unknown.
Chapters of Depravity is a pounding, charming, very enjoyable slice of old school death metal. No frills and plenty of thrills, Pestilent Death's latest is a straight forward metal album that is always welcome. If one is gonna go old-school, make it rough, make it brutal, make it count, and Pestilent Death does all three.Paul Casey