In the mid-'80s, thrash metal had its "Big Four" bands -- three from California (Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer) and New York's Anthrax. In the early '90s, technical death metal's Big Four were three Florida acts -- Death, Atheist, and Cynic -- and Pestilence, from the Netherlands. The band released four albums that charted an increasingly progressive and even jazzy trip from metal out into deep space, culminating with the controversial, keyboard-dominated Spheres. The current lineup of Pestilence features vocalist/guitarist Patrick Mameli, bassist Tony Choy, drummer Peter Wildoer, and guitarist Patrick Uterwijk, and has returned not to continue the journey where they left off, but rather to effectively reboot the group and reclaim its place within the death metal pantheon. Track titles like "Devouring Frenzy," "Hate Suicide," and "In Sickness and Death" tell the story; Mameli's new version of Pestilence has much more to do with early albums Malleus Maleficarum and Consuming Impulse than the more intricate, thoughtful material found on Spheres and Testimony of the Ancients. Indeed, there's even "Dehydrated II," a sequel to the opening track on Consuming Impulse. In some ways, it comes closer to the progressive aggression of Voivod, but with the in-your-face production and downtuned brutality of modern death metal acts. While this may puzzle some fans who enjoyed the third and fourth albums more than the first two, others -- and listeners coming to the band with fresh ears -- may not mind at all. Interestingly, Mameli's revisionist take on his band's legacy shows up even more strongly at the end of the album; Resurrection Macabre closes with re-recordings of three classic tracks -- "Chemo Therapy" from Malleus Maleficarum, "Out of the Body" from Consuming Impulse, and "Lost Souls" from Testimony of the Ancients.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman