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Death Doom

Corrosive Death Metal ALERT! Crawl Through Strange Catacombs with PESTILENGTH

There is no shortage of bands in the “cavernous” death-doom world. While some might see it as oversaturation, others (myself included) see it as an embarrassment of riches. Either way, Spanish duo Pestilength find a way to separate themselves from the subterranean hordes on their third full-length, Solar Clorex, courtesy of Debemur Morti Productions.

The opener “Intraexsanguination” is really just a short intro but provides the proper gore-drenched double bass crawl that death heads are looking for. “Neerv” is the first proper song and while it also is suitably crushing, it provides glimmers of something a bit more unique as well. The opening blast riff is a bit more convoluted than the typical Incantation-worship you get from the genre. Then there’s the lone guitar break midway through the song that pulls back on the volume a bit without ever turning the distortion off. It’s a masterful use of dynamics. The back end of the song is filled with the sort of oblique riffing Morbid Angel used so effectively on Blessed Are the Sick, and then never really revisited.

“Occlusive” finds a happy medium between Portal and classic Suffocation, hypnotic groove riffs with a creepy edge. Once again, the duo utilizes dynamics with a slower doomed section that despite being fully-distorted feels like a breath of fetid air. “Entronos Wormwomb” opens with an even more perverted riff that sounds like slime dripping from the ancient corpse of an unimaginable creature. They abuse the riff for all its worth, utilizing both doom and blast tempos, before shifting gears into the record’s first clean guitar break. The guitar is somehow gentle but off-kilter at the same time. More disturbingly, tortured whispers bubble up from underneath.

“Baleful Profusion” is another shorter piece in the vein of the opener, but the riffs are suffocating weirdness that brings to mind Portal. “Dilution Haep” follows and adds a bit of Deathspell Omega to the cavernous death metal concoction. Yet, they navigate from there to more doom and Morbid Angel-inspired riffing. The piece has a wonderful flow, illustrating Pestilength’s knack for crafting memorable brutality. Halfway through, they land in a more technical section that would make Gorguts proud.

And so it goes. “Oxide Veils” brings more Deathspell to the table until launching into blastbeat insanity. “Choirs of None” sounds like some of the other tunes played backward, still wholly effective and twice as atmospheric. This piece leans a bit more doomward than its predecessors but retains the obtuse sound they do so well.

The album ends with the epic “Verbalist Aphonee”, a masterful summation of all that came before. Crawling death collides with blast beats and rhythmic left turns. This is the first song to really remind me of Demilich in certain sections, although the strange death metal contortions they execute through Solar Clorex made the classic Finnish weirdos obvious comrades in spirit if not always in sound.

Solar Clorex is a masterclass is a unique and powerful death metal. For all their obtuse riffing, Pestilength not only remains memorable but also gives the listener all the brutality and atmosphere one could hope for. I’m not sure how these guys have flown under the radar for so long, but a Bandcamp search reveals they’ve been busy so I plan on making up for lost time. But Solar Clorex feels like the pinnacle and deserves immediate attention.

Written By

Sentient 51423

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