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Classic Review: Pestilence - Testimony Of The Ancients
Testimony Of The Ancients

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1991
Duration: 42:58
Tracks: 16
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: September 20, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Testimony Of The Ancients

Rated 4.19/5 (83.81%) (63 Votes)

This is Pestilence's third album, following upon the wide success and critical acclaim of 1989's Consuming Impulse. After that fine album Pestilence had big shoes to fill, added to which was the absence of former vocalist Martin Van Drunen, who left rather precipitously just as the album was about to be recorded. Thus guitarist Patrick Mameli had to step into the vocal slot at the last minute, and bass god Tony Choy (of Atheist and Cynic fame) had to learn all the bass parts in two weeks. Both of them stepped up with style and confidence, and helped make this album Pestilence's best one.

As Choy's presence would suggest, this is a far less feral and more technical album than its predecessor, though not yet into the jazz/fusion that would be heard on the subsequent Spheres. The technicality here is all in tight, complex riffage with a lot of nitpicky time changes and dime-stop arrangements. But the technicality does not get in the way of the ass-kicking, it just gives Pestilence a dash of versatility they didn't have before. You get old-style Pestilence thrashers like "The Secrecies Of Horror" and "Presence Of The Dead", plus standouts like the slow, creepy "Twisted Truth", which packs one of their best riffs. There are not actually 16 songs on this thing, there are 8 with 8 short interludes in between. The first song is a real song, and after that every other one is full-length. The interludes are all very short, most around the 30 second mark, and in total they take up about 5 minutes of the album, so they don't really intrude much. They don't add much either, so the album would have been fine without them.

This is another killer form the old days that is revered for a good reason. Not as vicious or aggressive as Consuming Impulse, Testimony Of The Ancients is still a fine, fine album of technical Death Metal that has been massively influential on the genre. Another essential from the glory days of death.

Other related information on the site
Review: Consuming Impulse (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Doctrine (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Doctrine (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Exitivm (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Mallevs Maleficarvm (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Review: Mallevs Maleficarvm (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Resurrection Macabre (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Spheres (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with vocalist/guitarist Patrick Mameli and bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling on December 18, 2011 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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