Abaddon magazine

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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Review: Black Pestilence – Chaotic Wisdom

Label: Self released

Date: September 8th, 2023

I feel like I’m missing something here. About ten minutes maybe. It’s been three years since “Hail the Flesh”, the previous outing by the Canadian trio, and all we’ve got is twenty-five minutes. Not to mention that there was over a year of plague-ridden lockups which should’ve given enough time for creative contemplation.

However, what definitely isn’t missing on “Chaotic Wisdom” is the lethal dose of Black Pestilence’s own brand of modern, “technotized” black metal punk. That being said, I might just be asking too much when pondering on the “missing ten minutes”. The Canadians deliver the goods and that should be he nominal value of their seventh full length (now, this we can discuss) record. The fact it is so short could be the sole reason this album sounds so compact, dense and deadly. Basically, without a breather, one is being dragged through a boxing ring during a heavyweight championship fight.

A genre like this is essentially spawned from the nexus of undrainable energy. Without it, it would be like playing with a blown-out balloon. This power needs to exist before any other aspect (of darkness) even comes into consideration. Black Pestilence, to that purpose, uses a primal punk (hardcore) punch. Rhythmical, first and foremost. By avoiding at all cost the unnecessary blasting, the band is focusing the listener to what the guitar and vocal are carving into your brain. All the while shoveling rhythmic dynamite into bonfire. So, while the drums (and bass guitar to a degree) are charging your batteries, catchy riffing and hook-filled verses make you scream your lungs out.

Now, I’ve mentioned “technotized” above. Let me expand on that. Rather than you imagining a copy of Impaled Nazarene or new Darkthrone, Black Pestilence offers a few inserts to separate from them. Namely, the samples which take a more prominent place on “Chaotic Wisdom” in comparison with their previous works. Sounds like those that one can find in a number of noise projects. Sounds of the new millennium, where technology rules complete. It’s like the trio is bringing to our ears all the inaudible sounds and frequencies we are surrounded every day, without even knowing. Because they are covered by white noise we’ve become so accustomed with that we no longer pay attention to it.

Naturally, all of that comes hand in hand with subtle touches of plain electronic music, though one should not fear. “Chaotic Wisdom” remains a punk metal album through and through.

Apart of that, I find the guitars have been given more wiggle room on “Chaotic Wisdom”. Especially when it comes to soloing, but also a bit of a melodic approach here and there. Bass guitar, on the other hand, has always been very present in Black Pestilence’s sound. Most likely because Valax, the man responsible for bass and vocals, is the leading creative force and the sole remaining founding member. Yet still not quite a dictator to push his instrument fully forward, however prominent his bass actually is in the band’s soundscape.

In other news, a refreshing addition to the album is the guest appearance of the voice of Citizen Rage, Mr. Mark Russell. An actual hardcore punk voice fits to “Infernal Might” like it belonged there from the onset. It actually made me think of what it would be like to have another vocalist in the regular line-up of Black Pestilence. Could be interesting.

So, now that I’ve robbed you of more time than you would actually need to go through “Chaotic Wisdom” yourselves, the one task I’m left with is to invite you to let yourselves be robbed of some more. Black Pestilence has created another great record and it only takes about twenty-five minutes for you to fall in love with it as well.