Pestilence is a Dutch death metal band from Enschede, founded in 1986. There have been numerous lineup changes with the band over their 35-year career, with guitarist and vocalist Patrick Mameli as the only constant member. After disbanding in order to pursue other musical directions in 1994, Pestilence reunited in 2008, and was put on a “permanent hold” in July 2014. However, the band reunited once again in October 2016. To date, Pestilence has released nine studio albums, and they are often known as part of “progressive death metal‘s Big Four”, along with Death, Atheist, and Cynic.
Early career (1986–1990)
Pestilence started in the Netherlands in mid-1986 as a thrash metal band. The lineup, consisting of Patrick Mameli (guitar, vocals), Randy Meinhard (guitar), and Marco Foddis (drums), recorded two demos before gaining the attention of Roadrunner Records. After the first demo, Martin van Drunen (bass, vocals) joined them. These two demos – Dysentery (1987) and The Penance (1987) – are raw, sounding mostly like a cross between Possessed and Schizophrenia-era Sepultura. After signing with Roadrunner, Pestilence released their debut album, Malleus Maleficarum, in 1988, further refining their approach to thrash metal. The new material was tighter and more focused than the demos. It set a new standard of brutality and became a definition of European death/thrash metal.
Meanwhile, Pestilence recruited a new guitar player, Patrick Uterwijk. In 1989, the band released their second album, Consuming Impulse, a turn toward death metal. Musically, things became heavier and more haunting. Vocally, Martin van Drunen moved away from cleaner vocals in favour of a more acidic growl. With its release, Pestilence gained international attention, and became highly regarded worldwide by death metal fans. But before a follow-up album was released, the lineup changed once again; vocalist and bassist Martin van Drunen departed to front Asphyx.
Success and breakthrough (1991–1994)
Pestilence were faced with the challenge of replacing another member once again, being now without a vocalist and bassist. For their third album Testimony of the Ancients, they enlisted bassist Tony Choy from death metal band Cynic while Patrick Mameli took over the vocal duties. A more technical and progressive approach, Testimony of the Ancients co-defined early progressive death metal alongside Piece of Time and Human musical and lyrical-wise, with “Land Of Tears” getting heavy rotation on Headbangers Ball worldwide.
Over the years, Pestilence members were getting into other forms of music, primarily jazz fusion. The band’s fourth album, Spheres was an even more complex affair, mixing jazz elements into their death metal style while also incorporating guitar synths throughout the album.
Pestilence’s popularity had risen with the release of each album, but unfortunately, so did tensions between the members. After a short period of time, the band unanimously decided to split up, feeling they had reached their creative climax.
In 1994, Roadrunner released one last CD from Pestilence: a best-of titled Mind Reflections, containing tracks from all four albums, plus the rare song “Hatred Within” (originally released on the Teutonic Invasion Part II compilation) and six unreleased live tracks recorded at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in 1992. In 1998, Displeased Records re-released the debut album Malleus Maleficarum (which was originally never officially released in Europe), and included both demo recordings from 1986 and 1987.
In 2006, Metal War Productions, working with Martin van Drunen, released Chronicles of the Scourge, containing two concert recordings and one unreleased bonus track. The two concerts are Live “Kix Festival” – Veghel, the Netherlands (June 24, 1989) and Live Bochum, Germany (November 18, 1988). A bonus “rehearsal disc” was released with the first 1000 copies.
First reunion (2008–2013)
A long period of inactivity ended in January 2008, when vocalist/guitarist Patrick Mameli told Blabbermouth.net that Pestilence were back. The reunion line-up consisted of Mameli on vocals and guitar, Tony Choy on bass and Peter Wildoer on drums. Speaking to Blabbermouth.net regarding his decision to resurrect the band, Mameli had this to say:
It’s not a reunion, because I will not be playing with any of the old lineup guys, except Tony Choy, of course so… I always stated there WILL NEVER BE a reunion, and there won’t be, since I never look back at the past and I refuse now to play with people that are not on the same musical level as I am.
I sang on Testimony and Spheres (two albums later from Consuming Impulse!!), so no need for Martin. This because of the above statement I just made. Furthermore, Martin is doing other things. Good for him.
So now you have two members that were in Pestilence before and one new guy.
The reason why I bring Pestilence back to life is that people/fans keep asking me for this. The time is right now and Mascot is giving me the opportunity to do so.
As you know, I have always been the driving force behind Pestilence, writing all the music and so forth, so that I can state: I will bring back Pestilence to life. More tech and way more brutal than ever before.
In 2008, Pestilence decided to write and record new music for an early 2009 release working with Danish producer Jacob Hansen. Titled Resurrection Macabre, it is their first original album in sixteen years (since 1993’s Spheres). In March 2008, Patrick Uterwijk re-joined the band as second-guitarist, however he didn’t play on Resurrection Macabre.
In October 2009, Jeroen Paul Thesseling re-joined Pestilence after fifteen years of separation from the band, replacing Tony Choy‘s bass position. In March 2010, Pestilence announced their first US summer tour in over 16 years which would begin at Maryland Deathfest at Sonar on May 30. The reformed Pestilence released another album entitled Doctrine in April 2011.
On February 22, 2012, Patrick Mameli announced that Jeroen Paul Thesseling and Yuma van Eekelen both left Pestilence, to commit more on their main projects, Thesseling’s Salazh Trio, and van Eekelen’s Exivious. Thesseling was replaced by Stephan Fimmers (Necrophagist), and van Eekelen was replaced by Tim Yeung (Morbid Angel, Divine Heresy, All That Remains, Hate Eternal). The new two members were also included in the recording session of the seventh Pestilence album, Obsideo.
Second breakup and reunion (2014–present)
On October 4, 2016, Pestilence announced on their Facebook page that they were once again active, and announced a new lineup, featuring Mameli on both guitar and vocals, Tony Choy on bass (later replaced by Tilen Hudrap), Santiago Dobles on lead guitar and Septimiu Hărşan on drums.
On February 22, 2017, the band announced via their Facebook page that a new album, titled Hadeon, was due to be released in 2017. The album’s release date was later pushed back to 2018, and was finally released on March 9, 2018.
On July 24, 2018, shortly before the bands North America tour was to begin, metal blog new and opinion site MetalSucks reported on a 2017 Facebook post that they alleged showed Patrick Mameli on his personal Facebook page, in response to a photo of him with blonde dreadlocks, responding to a comment that compared his look to Milli Vanilli with the statement in his native Dutch, “Je zegt dat ik een neger ben?” The site alleged that the use of “neger” translated to an American racial slur. Along with the comment, MetalSucks also alleged that the singer also “propagates Jewish stereotypes”, pointing to his support of United States President Donald Trump moving the nations embassy in Israel. Many commenters on the site pointed out that the website used a Facebook translation on the post that translated it to the more offensive version, while Google Translate would return “black” or “negro”.
In response, the band posted a statement, reading in part, “PESTILENCE nor myself are in any way a political band. We do not condone or support nazism[sic] or racism in any way. Pestilence exists only to create awesome music for our listeners and fans.” Patrick Mameli adding, “On being a racist, ‘for god’s sake, my ‘soon-to-be’ wife is ASIAN, how could I be rasist?[sic]”
On July 26, 2018, the band’s entire U.S. tour was cancelled due to the article. In a post on Mameli’s Facebook page, he stated, “Thanks to metalsucks and their followers, our US minitour has been cancelled by our U.S. promotor[sic].”
On September 24, 2018, Tilen Hudrap announced that he is leaving Pestilence in order to join U.D.O. Edward Negrea of Necrovile was announced as replacement. The band also announced that new music, touring and festival appearances were planned for 2019.
On August 1, 2019, Pestilence announced that they had signed to Agonia Records and would release their then-upcoming ninth studio album Exitivm in the coming months. Several months later, Pestilence announced that Septimiu Hărşan had to leave the band due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; he was replaced by Michiel van der Plicht (God Dethroned and Carach Angren). After a two-year delay, Exitivm was released on June 25, 2021.
|Breaking Barriers Vol. 5||Split||1991|
|Testimony of the Ancients||Full-length||1991|
|The Breed Beyond||Split||1993|
|Consuming Impulse / Testimony of the Ancients||Compilation||2003|
|Chronicles of the Scovrge||Live album||2006|
|The Dysentery Penance||Compilation||2015|
|Presence of the Past||Live album||2015|
|Reflections of the Mind||Compilation||2016|
|Presence of the Pest (Live at Dynamo Open Air 1992)||Live album||2016|
|Prophetic Revelations 1987-1993||Boxed set||2018|
|The Roadrunner Albums||Compilation||2020|
|Marco Foddis||Drums (1986-1994)|
|See also: ex-Sacrosanct|
|Randy Meinhard||Guitars (1986-1989)|
|See also: Sacrosanct, ex-Lucifera, ex-Submission, ex-Neon Dream|
|Chuck Colli||Vocals (1986)|
|See also: ex-Lucifera, ex-Asphyx, ex-Sacrosanct, ex-Submission, ex-Thorny Rose|
|Martin van Drunen||Bass, Vocals (1987-1990)|
|See also: Asphyx, Grand Supreme Blood Court, Rotten Casket, ex-Death by Dawn, ex-Hail of Bullets, ex-Submission, ex-Bolt Thrower (live), ex-First Class Elite|
|Bas Dooijes||Bass (1989)|
|See also: ex-Theriac, ex-Jackal, ex-Hectic|
|Patrick Uterwijk||Guitars (1989-1994, 2009-2014)|
|See also: ex-Theriac|
|Nick Sagias||Bass (1990)|
|See also: Tribe of Pazuzu, ex-Overthrow, ex-Soulstorm, Sfera, ex-Malhavoc (live), ex-Monster Voodoo Machine|
|Tony Choy||Bass (1991-1992, 2008-2009, 2016-2017)|
|See also: Fire for Effect, Synaptik, Synkronizity, Voracious Scourge, ex-C-187, Area 305, Neuromorph, ex-Atheist, ex-Cynic, ex-Strike Master (live)|
|Jack Dodd||Bass (1992)|
|Jeroen Paul Thesseling||Bass (1992-1994), Bass (fretless) (2009-2012)|
|See also: Obscura, Sadist, Quadvium, Salazh Trio, ex-Mayan, ex-Ensemble Salazhar, ex-Nufutic|
|Peter Wildoer||Drums (2008-2009)|
|See also: Darkane, Electrocution 250, Grimmark, ex-Agretator, ex-Gardens of Obscurity, ex-Silver Seraph, ex-Zaninez, ex-Non-Human Level, ex-Demise, ex-Arch Enemy, ex-James LaBrie, ex-Soilwork (live), ex-Armageddon, ex-Majestic, ex-Time Requiem|
|Yuma van Eekelen||Drums (2011-2012)|
|See also: OneGodLess, ex-Exivious, ex-The New Dominion, ex-Brutus, ex-Mourn, Quadvium|
|Stephan Fimmers||Bass (2012)|
|See also: Grand Sermon, Ingrimm, ex-Necrophagist, ex-Human Bloodfeast|
|David Haley||Drums (2012-2014)|
|See also: Abramelin, Consummation, CrisisAct, King, Prophet of Abhoth, Psycroptic, Ruins, The Amenta, Werewolves, ex-Disseminate, ex-Blood Duster|
|Tim Yeung||Drums (2012)|
|See also: ex-Shaithus, ex-Windbreed, I Am Morbid, ex-Agiel, ex-Aurora Borealis, ex-Decrepit Birth, ex-Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel, ex-The Tenth Circle, ex-World Under Blood, ex-All That Remains (live), ex-Nile (live), ex-Vital Remains (live), ex-Divine Heresy, ex-Hank Williams III (live), ex-Assjack, ex-Death Division, ex-Westfield Massacre|
|Georg Maier||Bass (2013-2014)|
|See also: Nader Sadek (live), ex-Common Grave, Neuromorph, ex-Donnergroll, ex-Dehydrated|
|Septimiu Hărşan||Drums (2016-2020)|
|See also: CodeRed, Disavowed, Indian Fall, Necrovile, The Thirteenth Sun, Nader Sadek (live), Aria Urbana, Moordzucht, Neuromorph, ex-Autokrator, ex-Celest, ex-Spectral, ex-FusionCore|
|Santiago Dobles||Guitars (lead) (2016-2017)|
|See also: Aghora, Synkronizity, ex-Council of the Fallen, ex-Cynic, ex-Order of Ennead|
|Alan Goldstein||Bass (2017)|
|See also: Aghora, Red Lamb, ex-The Kolios Project, ex-Moordzucht|
|Tilen Hudrap||Bass (2017-2018)|
|See also: Thraw, U.D.O., Keller, Wartune, Scepsis, James Rivera’s SJS (live), ex-Paradox, ex-Vicious Rumors, ex-Testament (live)|
|Calin Paraschiv||Guitars (lead) (2017-2019)|
|See also: Analepsy, Clitgore, Necrovile, ex-Charnabon, ex-Marchosias|
|Edward Negrea||Bass (2018-2019)|
|See also: Necrovile, PaddingMoth, ex-Malpraxis, ex-Marchosias|
|1.||Mind Reflections||03:21||Show lyrics|
|2.||Multiple Beings||04:05||Show lyrics|
|3.||The Level of Perception||03:49||Show lyrics|
|5.||Soul Search||03:19||Show lyrics|
|6.||Personal Energy||04:09||Show lyrics|
|7.||Voices from Within||01:12||instrumental|
|9.||Changing Perspectives||03:24||Show lyrics|
|11.||Demise of Time||03:40||Show lyrics|