Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pest


Pest - Nekrolog
Fallen-Angels Productions, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

Part 1: The Triumph of Death
1. The Spirit of Dark Water
2. Nebel
3. Onward to Destroy
4. Pest
5. Vado Mori
6. Weltgericht
7. Call from the Other Side
8. Ära
9. Tears of Hate
10. Yersinia
11. Trance
12. Kingdom of Madness
13. Es lebe der Tod
14. Entering Forest

Part 2: Memento Mori
1. Nachtgesang
2. Bis in alle Ewigkeit?
3. Eternal Darkness
4. Schnee und Eis
5. Inferno (Unreleased Demo)
6. Bonded (Unreleased Demo)
7. Infinity Awaits
8. Im Angesicht der Schwarzen Sonne
9. Der Kerker
10. Ewiges Grab (Unreleased Demo)
11. Failure of Creation (Unreleased Demo)
12. The Glimmer
13. Wasteland
14. Am Ende des Weges
15. Burial (Unreleased Pre-Mix)
16. R.I.P. (Unreleased)

Here we truly see Pest's career end. "Nekrolog" serves as a "best of" of sorts to commemorate all that Pest has given us. They really put together a great compilation with both discs spanning over an hour in length. Which is unsurprising since the vast majority of Pest's catalog is exceptional quality. However, they went above and beyond and gave us some unreleased versions of material on the second disc.

This set really does an excellent job cataloging Pest's career. The unreleased material is good, but it's mostly just demo material of things we've heard before. The major difference is the shift in production values compared to the other songs surrounding them. So, there isn't that much new material in the grand scheme of things, but having a celebration of Pest's career is certainly worth having for the die hard Pest fans out there. It's quite sad to have the collection close with the song "Burial" followed up by a new song called "R.I.P.", which adds a certain level of finality to the Pest project. I thought "R.I.P." being the one, wholly, new track on this release would be one of their well formed acoustic pieces, but it actually is all distorted guitars, with a sort of similar feeling to an acoustic piece. However, with the distortion it has a rather harsher edge to it, as if laying to rest the band in the same way it was forced to end against their will.

I truly hope Pest's legacy will never be forgotten. I'll certainly always be listening to their material for years and years to come and recommending them to everyone I know who is a fan of Black Metal. I really wish we had been able to see the studio version of "Burial" the band would have ultimately made, as I'm sure everyone else wishes. I truly hope Mrok's tragedy doesn't stop Atax and Scum from making music together. Given the passion this band possessed, I would think Mrok would want them to continue their musical careers, as it is probably something he would have continued with had he not passed in 2011. Certainly there is no replacing Mrok and ending Pest is a good idea to keep his creation in all our memories, but I would like to see where the music goes in the future from those remaining. They are top tier musicians and it would be sad to have this tragedy leave everyone without such music, especially with the way "Burial" was trending. We were in store for some of the finest Black Metal being performed... Black Metal has lost one of it's finest, hopefully, we can continue on in a way that would make Mrok proud.


Pest - Triumph des Todes
Kunsthauch, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Es Lebe der Tod
3. Am Ende des Weges
4. Pest
5. Inferno
6. Decay
7. Triumph des Todes
8. Caveland
9. Wasteland (Acoustic Guitar Mix)
10. Schnee und Eis Part 2 (Acoustic Guitar Mix)
11. Riding the Storms (Distortion Mix)
12. Im Angesicht der Schwarzen Sonne
13. Armageddon
14. Gedankenschwelgend
15. Master's Return
16. To Rise from the Dead
17. Outro

It seems the last breath of Pest is coming out all at once this year. This is the first of two compilation albums for the band. This a real special one though, here we have quite a catalog and specialties, many on CD for the first time. It's a truly beautiful packaging as well. It comes in a wonderful silver envelop pictured above and sealed with wax. Inside you'll find a poster and a digi-pak CD (pictured
right). This release is limited to 200 hand-numbered copies and I own #34.

The first part of this recording is the self-titled Pest release from 2007. This was only available on vinyl or cassette until now. Here we have all the tracks on CD and re-mixed in 2013. They sound really great and I'm very glad to have versions on CD. The title track "Triumph des Todes" seems to have been released on a various artist compilation back in 2002. Of course we also saw that song released on the "Ad se Ipsum" album in the same year. After this tracks 8 to 100 were recorded during the "Tenebris Obortis" recording session, but never used by the band. Here they finally see the light of day on this release. I can see why these were never really used. The original songs are acoustic recordings and when looking at the track layout these may not have fit so well. We also get some acoustic versions of songs that were released on the album. I wonder if they were originally going to release them this way and decided to add distortion into the mix, or did they take the distortion out for these versions after the fact? The acoustic version of "Wasteland" is actually very good and in some ways it would have added a very different feel and presence to the "Tenebris Obortis" album. Finally the last part of the album is the demo from 1998 "Schwarze Visionen" on CD at last! If it wasn't for this release, there is probably no other way I'd be hearing this material now. I'm always interested to hear the roots of a project if the band is exceptional, and Pest definitely falls into that category! So, if, like me, you missed out on their beginnings you can finally get to hear it. It looks like the recordings have been salvaged in pretty good quality and they're, honestly, not too far off in quality from what first heard on "Ära".

As with "Buried" this is dedicated to Mrok and Pest. If you're a Pest fan, I would consider this a must have compilation. Having some of these recordings for the first time makes this worth getting alone, never mind all the bonus material that was never released before. A wonderful tribute to a band that ended far too soon.


Pest - Buried
Ketzer Records, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. Burial
3. Kingdom of Madness
4. Vicious Wrath
5. The Hunt
6. Warriors of Darkness 2011
7. Ära 2011
8. Call from the Other Side
9. Awakening
10. Descending into Darkness
11. Totentanz
12. Bygone




With the release of "Buried" sad news reaches my eyes. Founding member on drums, Mrok, has passed away in a car accident. This happened back in 2011, but this is the first I heard about it and sadly this is where I first discovered Pest. A friend showed me some of the material on "Buried" and I was so impressed I immediately ordered this album for my collection. Only to read the back liner notes explaining how it is an In Memoriam album for Mrok. With his death, the band was also put to rest, considering Mrok was such an instrumental part of the band and writing process.

"Buried", unfortunately, is not a full studio release. What it really is a collection of some of the songs being worked on for an upcoming album. Tracks 2, 3, 4, 8, 9,10, and 11 fall into this category of varying recording quality. The rest are older recordings or re-recordings of older material. Scum's liner notes state "The recordings are not perfect and not all songs had been completely worked out, but we decided to release them, for they are the last recordings with Mrok." They may not be perfect, according to the band, but the new material being composed is probably some of their strongest material yet. They've really started blending the material from "Tenebris Obortis" and "Vado Mori" together to make an aggressive yet more atmospheric release. Just listen to how "Burial" sounds and it's simply incredible. Don't let the fact that these are rehearsal recordings steer you away, the first seven songs have recording quality that is actually quite good and no more raw than the second Pest album. Actually, this is higher quality than that, so its hardly a thing to be shamed of. I can't even imagine what these songs would sound like in a "finished" form according to the bands standards. This would have been quite the monster of a Black Metal release any way we looked at it. After this the recording quality begins to vary a little bit, but they did a great job salvaging this material. It seems that prior to even these rehearsals Mr. Blasphemy had already left the band, so I assume Scum is doing all the vocal performances on here. The vocals here are very well done, as Scum has always done backing vocals, but for the last recording it would have been nice to see the full band involved. If it was impossible, that is just too bad, but either way Pest put out a wonderful final effort and I'm glad they decided to ultimately release the material. This is truly some of their most wonderfully composed material to date!

I only hope that my Pest page stands as a testament to the legacy Pest leaves behind. I wish they had left a more indelible mark on the Black Metal scene and I'm sure they have in their own country, but Pest seriously deserve far more worldwide acclaim for their work. I hear very few mention their name in my country and it was someone outside of this country that brought them to my attention! I will do my best to spread the word as best I can. The blight might be over, but Pest's mark will live on forever, just like the original plague!


Pest - Tenebris Obortis
Ketzer Records, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Tenebris Obortis
2. Trance
3. Ewiges Grav
4. Weltgericht
5. Wasteland
6. Decontamination
7. Schnee und Eis
8. Bonded
9. Riding the Storms
10. Entering Forest






It's been a while since we've heard a full-length from the mighty Pest and after "Vado Mori" I was certainly looking forward to more. In the interim they released a mini-LP, so they sort of stuck with their release schedule of putting out material every couple of years. If you were impressed with "Vado Mori" you'll be doubly so with "Tenebris Obortis", because Pest return with yet another immense release. It's a shame that this band isn't nearly as well known as they should be, because they compose some of more fine Black Metal out there.

"Tenebris Obortis" sort of picks up where "Vado Mori" leaves off, but I feel like this is a far more mature effort in many ways. The arrangements and writing feel far more contemplative than ever before. Songs like "Wasteland" border into a more atmospheric presence, which is a little different for Pest. "Tenebris Obortis" keeps a wonderful balance between aggression and slower darker pieces, I think. Where "Vado Mori" was more of a no holds barred experience, "Tenebris Obortis", brings us a far more complete Pest experience. Pest really does manage to keep getting stronger and stronger with every release they bring us. It's an impressive feat to not get locked into a particular sound that works. The booklet interior for pictures seems like a blend of war and wonderful pictures of nature that you would find on album covers for the latest Atmospheric Black Metal bands. Pest definitely build a lot more cold and icy riffing into "Tenbris Obortis", which creates more of a drone feel at times. "Vado Mori" relied a lot more on hard hitting and catchier rhythms, but "Tenebris Obortis" works on blending a slight edge into a darker atmosphere. To make this even more worthwhile the album closes with the epic "Entering Forest", which is simply incredible!

If you're already a Pest fan you certainly won't be disappointed with this release, bit if you haven't checked out Pest by now, it's high time that happened. "Tenebris Obortis" is a great album and just as good as "Vado Mori", but for very different reasons. Pest's ability to bring us different albums that blend different levels of magnificence is one of the reasons I'll keep coming back for more from them.


Pest - Pest
Bird of Ill Omen Recordings, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Es lebe der Tod
2. Am Ende des Weges
3. Pest
4. Inferno
5. Decay











Despite being recorded back in 2005, this material finally sees the light of day on 12" vinyl! It's a beautiful piece and even though you can't see it in the above photo, the Pest logo is embossed over the cover. It's very subtle, but it was a very cool thing to notice when I took the vinyl out of the mail. It comes with a poster inside which has the lyrics published on the back... so it's not something I'll be hanging up in the end. I'm sure this EP is limited to some amount, but there is no mention of limitation on the release.

This features new songs and a re-recording of "Am Ende des Weges" from the "Ära" days. That was one of my favorite songs at that album, so I'm not going to complain about it being featured here with an upgrade to the sound. This is actually a pretty hard hitting EP for Pest. Most of the songs are really fast and brutal sounding Black Metal. They seem to draw a lot more out of Thrash structured style to create that intensity and the majestic patterns we find in a lot of their albums are not as present on this collection of songs. "Inferno" is where we hear some of that intensity take a step back in favor of a more atmospheric feeling. It's the only track on here like that, so in some ways it felt out of place when it came on, but then with the outro "Decay" it sort of transitioned a lot better than if they had just kept the brutality going the whole time. The song "Pest" has moments that sit in between the majestic styling and the intense songs, so it's a good transition piece in that regard. "Decay" is a bit of a different song, it's nearly five minutes in length, but feels more like an outro piece with distorted guitar and piano. It actually sounds pretty good and I'm surprised they didn't make more material like this in retrospect.

I'll never complain about getting new Pest material, but I can see why many of these songs wouldn't have really fit on any of the full-lengths they usually compose. I think an EP was a good move with this collection, so if you want to hear a more intense side of Pest this is definitely worth checking out.


Pest - Vado Mori
Ketzer Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Prelude to the End
2. The Failure of Creation
3. Eternal Darkness
4. Infinity Awaits
5. Vado Mori
6. Before the Storm
7. The Glimmer
8. Yersinia
9. Der Ewige
10. Into Madness
11. Es Lebe der Tod





This is the first with Pest recording outside their rehearsal room and this is easily my favorite Pest album so far. It really builds on the prior releases, but this gives a far more intense edge to their music than ever before. The harshness is still ever present in their sound, despite going into a studio and I would say the production values are on par with the likes of Horna. This also comes with a wonderfully done booklet, but this is not so surprising with the band releasing material on Ketzer Records.

Even though this is probably the most aggressive Pest release to date, we still get some balance with acoustic and chilling passages of riffing in general. Just look how the title track "Vado Mori" builds into the actual song. It has a vast intro that lulls the listener towards the medieval styled aggression we're about to experience. It's easily one of my favorite tracks on this release. "Vado Mori" is sort of in vein of a more hard hitting Moonblood, in my opinion anyway. If Moonblood sounded meaner and more intense, it would probably sound something like this. Just listen to how awesome the song "The Glimmer" sounds. That main riff is intoxicating! Blend in some of that Horna Finnish style of Black Metal and we have one incredible blend to behold. While many may not consider "Vado Mori" as inventive or varied, I guess I'm a sucker for the more aggressive blends of Black Metal. I will say that it was nice to hear an album this aggressive with bass guitar that actually does stick out to some degree. Another aspect that I think wins me over more is that this album is mostly full songs, meaning the instrumental interludes of prior releases actually move into songs rather than sitting in their own space all the time, which is a change I really appreciate on many levels.

"Vado Mori" is quite the success in my opinion. I really love this album. Pest has always had very strong material and with "Vado Mori" they've refined it into one impressive piece of music that I would highly recommend to Black Metal fans all over. The riffing and overall arrangement is really top notch on this release.


Pest - Ad se Ipsum
Fog of the Apocalypse, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. Yearning
2. Bis in alle Ewigkeit?
3. Pest
4. Tears of Hate
5. Onward to Destroy
6. Gleitflug ins Nichts
7. Armageddon
8. Triumph des Todes
9. Rattenmarsch
10. Der Kerker
11. Die Sinnlosigkeit des Daseins





After "Ära" I was pretty eager to hear what "Ad se Ipsum" had in store for me. As a follow-up I think it is actually a bit more varied in the veins of Black Metal, where the first sticks to a single main theme. I was lucky enough to actually track down a copy of this release and it seems to be quite long gone now. Apparently it was originally limited to 500 copies and given the fact that people seem to be interested in the band now, this is probably going to be hard to track down for collectors.

If you were enthralled with "Ära" then "Ad se Ipsum" certainly keeps up the good work we heard on the debut. They keep up their usual blend of instrumental pieces with raging and fierce Black Metal. I noticed that a couple of the songs actually had far catchier guitar lines than the more droning and atmospheric material on the debut and demo. Songs like "Pest" have this sort of catchy and Thrash styled edge to it. Reminds me of the moments where Gorgoroth included that type of material into their mix of Black Metal. In some ways I enjoyed "Ära" a little more and I think it grabbed my attention a bit more. "Ad se Ipsum" feels a lot more varied in its performance and maybe that's why I'm not getting into it on the same level. There are certainly excellent songs on here and I would still rate this album rather highly in the grand scheme of things against other albums I've heard over the years. However, I think Pest can organize their compositions better to make a far more cohesive experience for listeners. Really, this is a very minor quibble for an otherwise very good album.

Consider yourself lucky if you were able to get a copy of this release. Perhaps it is not a release I will spin over others in the Pest discography, but this has some wonderful material on it. So, if you've already been won over to the way Pest performs their Black Metal, you won't be disappointed in this release either.


Pest - Ära
Self-Released, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Spirit of Dark Water
2. Nebel
3. Warriors of Darkness
4. Der Baum
5. Im Angesicht der Schwarzen Sonne
6. Am Ende des Weges
7. Nachtgesang
8. Breeding
9. Lost in Eternity
10. Ära
11. Solitude
Bonus Tracks:
12. Warriors of Darkness (Special Recording)
13. Am Ende des Weges (Special Recording)
14. At Dawn

As you can see by the cover picture I do not have the original version of this release. The original version was self-released and is likely impossible to find at this time. Instead, I have a copy of the version released by Full Moon Productions in 2003 with three bonus tracks. I honestly missed out on getting Pest's material until this year. I don't know why I never picked this up from Full Moon when they were still in operation, but by that time I had sort of stopped following Full Moon into the new millennium. It's a real shame because Pest as a rather stellar Black Metal band and I wish I had bothered to check them out when I ran my original webzine back in the early 2000's. Ah well, I feel obligated to make up for lost time and I have since acquired every release from this magnificent band except the original demo tape. Alas, that seems rather impossible to find and was released in 1998. The demo tape is actually very good, I did manage to hear it on a compilation released later, and I'm surprised there were no record labels to pick up the band and release this originally.

I once saw this band being compared with Moonblood and it had a lot more to do with the fact that they're both coming from Germany. Pest definitely falls into that raw edge of the Black Metal spectrum, but like Moonblood, this really enhances their sound and presentation. They even bear some of the epic quality and nature that can be found in the realms of Moonblood. Naturally, Pest draw influence from the standard Scandinavian scene. At times building an effect as Satyricon can do with releases like "Dark Medieval Times", especially in songs like "Am Ende des Weges". The obligatory Burzum reference should probably be included somehwere. Sometimes Pest have a rather unorthodox approach with the guitar work and felt a little sloppy on the demo tape, but it feels a lot cleaner on here. Even with that, it still had a touch of the LLN style of guitar playing to me. They don't really sound like the LLN projects, but the way in which the guitar is handled at times reminds me of such performances. The bass guitar also sticks out at times to really enhance some of the atmosphere of what's going on, which is very great to hear on a Black Metal album, since it's doing more than just following the guitar. There are also a few Ambient styled tracks which wend their way between the dungeon synth style of Mortiis or some of the synth we'd hear from early Satyricon material or even Wongraven.

The three additional recordings are some different versions of already released songs, but "At Dawn" is a new instrumental recording. It's quite wonderful for what it is, but I think I would have preferred an unreleased Black Metal song. What I would have really preferred is a song that has this acoustic piece building into a Black Metal song, which would have been magnificent given how excellent the guitar work is on this.

If you like a lot of the references I'm bringing up so far, then there's no reason that "Ära" shouldn't hit your "must hear" playlist. They truly captured and performed some top notch older feeling Black Metal. Again, I'm surprised a record label didn't pick this up immediately, but I'm glad that Full Moon eventually put out a more available version for everyone to get access to this wonderful debut album.


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