Review: Pathology “The Everlasting Plague” [Nuclear Blast]

Review: Pathology “The Everlasting Plague” [Nuclear Blast]

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On 19th November 2021, Nuclear Blast Records have released the eleventh studio album of Californian death metal quintet Pathology, but it is the first in their catalogue, and hopefully not the last one. These American deathsters have firm positions on the extreme metal scene, so no wonder that after 15 years of activity they’ve got a deal with such monsters as Nuclear Blast.

With only one original member Dave Astor left, the perpetual changes and the fresh blood made the music of Pathology more complex and also deprived of narrow-mindedness for such a confined genre. And still, Pathology didn’t mess up with stylistic turmoil, preferring to focus on good old brutal death metal. However, now they are open to get inspiration from melodic, slam, modern, death’n’roll or technical death metal. Bit by bit their solid death metal foundation has gained these various musical traits, but regardless of all these small changes, Pathology never left death metal realm. Every new element is connected to death metal groundwork, so no worries; Pathology still rules the world of uncompromising death metal.

The title The Everlasting Plague is originally from the previous album, but it really fits perfectly even now against the background of never-ending pandemic. Maybe it’s not as brutal as is displayed on the vivid and horrifying artwork, but this exaggeration mockingly shows the state of human fatigue and impotence of this whole covid-19 situation. It also speaks about the general ills of the human condition, these days the band is very far from the surgical conception or detailed savor of dying or killing processes.

The album is heavy and forceful, but not everything here is about brutality or the level of aggression, and although Pathology aren’t big fans of sophisticated moods or refined bizarreness, this 40+ minutes will never give a hint of boredom. Starting with creepy symphonic intro on “A Pound of Flesh”, the album blasts not only with a solid dose of brutality, but also melodiousness, alluring even on mdm principles. “Corrosive Cranial Affliction” is also filled with melodic lines, but it is either soaked in flashes of modern elements. “The everlasting Plague” isn’t too fast record, and slowdowns are so heavy and low, that speedy and violent grindcore passages sound too cheery. Acoustic elements on “As the Entrails Wither” and “Dirge for the Infected” temporary reduce the raw rage of this contagious spirit of brutalizing force, but last instrumental track also provides with some kind of atmospheric pensiveness. The technicality also borders with progressivity in the compositions like “Procession of Mangled Human” or “Dirge for the Infected”. The team spirit is well-coordinated – the merciless drums of Dave Astor combined with loud rigorous bass lines of Ricky Jackson echo the diverse and catchy guitar chords and solos of Dan Richardson, and very low, but articulated growls of Obie Flett is like a cherry on top, harmonizing the music of Pathology to the limit.

Eleven albums for sixteen years is a substantial contribution to prosperity of American death metal, Pathology were always productive and devoted fans of extreme music. Even when they became only a studio project, their passion was strong enough to create this kind of emotionally exhausting music. But now the energy of live performances is again with this band (they have returned to active touring in 2018), though the pandemic restrictions can’t allow the massive tours right away. All the industry is recovering and licking its wounds, putting more energy into creative process, but Pathology looks forward to spread their murderous music in every possible way, and the release of The Everlasting Plague is now their main focus.

Release date: November 19th, 2021

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