Progressive death metallers PESTILENCE, originally established in the Netherlands in 1986, have signed a worldwide record deal with Agonia Records, by the way of Hadeon Records. The band is currently working on their new album titled Exitivm.
From auspicious thrash metal beginnings, which earned them a deal with Roadrunner Records, to a death metal transformation, PESTILENCE is alive and kicking. Labeled on the same scale as Death, Cynic and Atheist, but also Obituary and Deicide, with whom the band shared the same label-home throughout the '90s, PESTILENCE exists despite a turbulent history featuring two breakups (in 1994 and 2014) and reunions (in 2008 and 2016, respectively). The band's binding factor and leading creative force throughout all cycles has always been founder and guitarist Patrick Mameli. The latter had this to say about the signing:
"Pestilence and Hadeon Records [the band's own imprint] are very excited to be joining forces with Agonia Records in an exclusive, worldwide agreement to explore new pathways in writing history together".
Mameli is currently the sole original member of PESTILENCE. But he wasn't alone at that. The band started as trio comprising Mameli, Randy Meinhard (guitars) and Marco Foddis (drums), later joined by Martin van Drunen. This line-up continued through two full-length albums (with the exception of Meinhard, who was replaced by Patrick Uterwijk shortly after the band's first album, Malleus Maleficarum, in 1988). Out of the two, the second album, Consuming Impulse (1988), was the beginning of all things great for PESTILENCE.
Faced with the necessity of replacing a member after van Drunen's departure to pursue a career with Asphyx, Mameli enlisted bassist Tony Choy and took over vocal duties for good. Together, they recorded Testimony Of The Ancients (1991). The material wasn't as abrasive as previous works, and the musicianship clearly matured, while the album boasted refined production thanks to Scott Burns of renowned Morrissound Studios, Florida.
After their album, Spheres, tensions within PESTILENCE started growing and led to the band's first split up in 1994. This left PESTILENCE dormant for over 10 years, not counting a Best Of album issued by Roadrunner Records as well as several other re-releases, many of which were issued without the band's awareness or consent.
Mameli revived PESTILENCE for the first time in 2008, bringing bassist Tony Choy, drummer Peter Wildoer, and later also guitarist Patrick Uterwijk to the table. He began writing music for an early 2009 release for Mascot Records titled Resurrection Macabre. This was the band's first activity in 15 years. The releases of Doctrine (2011) and Obsideo (2013), both saw further line-up revisions. These "first reunion" albums differed in sound.
Mameli surprisingly put PESTILENCE on permanent hold in 2014, aiming to fully concentrate on his side project, Neuromorph. Fortunately, in comparison with the first breakup, this one lasted only two years and saw the band reunite under Mameli's lead in 2016. The re-established PESTILENCE (featuring, except Mameli, bassist Tilen Hudrap of Testament, guitarist Santiago Dobles of Cynic and drummer Septimiu Harsan) pursued a contract with the band's native Hammerheart Records after several constructive meetings (which also encompassed the re-release of PESTILENCE's early works).
PESTLIENCE's last album, Hadeon, was released in 2018, taking everyone by surprise with a nod towards the band's early death metal years, yet still nourishing their experimental expression. The album was released in sync with an extensive European trek, followed by a South American run and many other shows throughout 2018. They began 2019 with even more touring across UK and Europe.
To learn more about PESTILENCE, visit their website.