Pest-The Crowning Horror

Pest

Pest are a Sweden-based band that aren’t really concerned about what a black metal band should sound like. They are more concerned with creating an album that speaks to them, and it certainly hearkens back to a time when the sound wasn’t predicated on lightning-fast riffs or an eerie atmosphere. The sound could be summed up in one word: evil. It’s all about writing an album that fans of the genre will be able to gleefully embrace as being irreverent and fun to listen to, and Pest have done just that with The Crowning Horror. One look at the album art can adequately prepare you for what is about to come: a dark and macabre slab of old-school black metal with varying tempos and interesting guitar riffs.

As the intro “The Funeral Hours” ticks by, the ominous and creepy guitar line that snakes in and out is replaced by one of the more energetic songs in “A Face Obscured by Death”. While monstrous riffs dominate the song, it doesn’t stop a bit of nice solo work to enter the fray and keep the song interesting about three quarters of the way through. The true beauty of why The Crowning Horror works so well is that it is not unrelenting or uniform in any way. There are no stray thoughts on whether or not the listener has heard this song before, and the variation between songs is almost startling. “Volcanic Eyes” is an explosion of riffing that gives way to a slower-paced, more old-school sound on “Devil’s Mark”, which sounds as if it was created in the 80’s alongside Bathory or Celtic Frost. The drums are worthy of mention, as interesting fills are sprinkled throughout the slower-paced songs such as “The Abomination of God”. They are not overbearing, and not allowing the drums to outshine the excellent guitar work gives an overall better melding of sound. The vocals on “The Crowning Horror” are somewhat similar in sound the entire way through the album, but a standout nonetheless. They are not incredibly high-pitched, but are rather intelligible which gives the album an interesting dynamic especially for a black metal album. The lyrics, instead of taking a backseat per the usual, are pushed to the forefront and used as another vehicle to deliver this misanthropic overall feel.

A strong feeling of despair is played upon quite a bit through the entirety of The Crowning Horror, but the offshoot of that aspect is the fun factor that is always waiting around the corner. This is best shown in the introduction to standout track “Thirteen Chimes”, as the bleak and minimalist guitar line gives way to a galloping guitar riff and speedy double bass. There is an undeniably retro feel to it, however it does not reek of straight influence worship in any way. Pest walk the fine line between originality and attempting to appeal to the old school listener wonderfully, and there really isn’t much to negate the value of this album. Many of the tracks are a bit longer, and the solos that appear every now and then could disrupt the black metal purists’ enjoyment of it. As Pest themselves put it, “A new wave of black death will finally strike the world. The plague is upon us. Bring on the darkness!”. The enjoyment of the album will be dependent on how many influences you enjoy in your proverbial cup of tea, but the truth is that A Crowning Horror is a truly fun and misanthropic adventure through and through. Just make sure that you keep your arms and legs inside the car at all times.

4.3/5

Tracklist:

1. The Funeral Hours

2. A Face Obscured by Death

3. Volcanic Eyes

4. Devil’s Mark

5. Holocaust

6. The Abomination of the god

7. Thirteen Chimes

8. Demon

9. The Crowning Horror

10. Eternal Curse

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