DB HOF NO. 99
The making of Pestilence ‘s “Consuming Impulse”
All things being fair, death metal was a morbid accident. Tape traders, zines, dudes who formed record labels and hordes of disenfranchised, rock ‘n’ roll-fed youth were all willing to risk societal abandonment and future professional pursuits to make the music they adored a reality. Nobody involved in the formative stages of death metal would’ve predicted that it would be the recognized force it is today. That its slimy black tentacles infiltrated the sleepy Dutch town of Enschede in the mid-’80s wasn’t a minor miracle—it was inevitable.
When Pestilence formed in ’86, they were already sore necks-deep into Slayer, Kreator and Possessed. Like so many, they yearned to replicate the unbridled aggression of their idols, and absorbed the aesthetic like a pack of insatiable dogs. Out of the dark of demos Dysentery and The Penance, Pestilence emerged with debut album Malleus Maleficarum in the fall of ’88. Guitarist Patrick Mameli, frontman/bassist Martin Van Drunen, drummer Marco Foddis and guitarist Randy Meinhard devised the blueprint for the European version of Sepultura’s Schizophrenia. Unquestionably manic and defiantly bold, Malleus proved that four kids from a small industrially defunct town were ready to overthrow Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the rest of the world, if need be.
Yet after the release of Malleus, the band split right down the middle. Mameli and Van Drunen stayed on, while Meinhard left to brainchild Sacrosanct with Foddis. Pestilence picked up young guitarist Patrick Uterwijk and bassist Bas Dooijes from Amsterdam-based Theriac, with the intention of Van Drunen shedding four-string duties. However, Dooijes didn’t work out, and Foddis jogged back to his proper position at the Pestilence drum stool. With the new lineup intact, work commenced quickly on the songs that would make up Consuming Impulse. More informed by early Death, Pestilence had become—after Thanatos, of course—the Netherlands’ most extreme export. When Consuming Impulse landed on Roadrunner’s short-lived death metal imprint RC, it was both beginning and end for the Van Drunen era. Nevertheless, with songs like “Dehydrated,” “Suspended Animation” and fan-favorite “Out of the Body,” Pestilence’s second long-player melted minds and liquefied brains. Consuming Impulse was, in fact, a game-changer.
So, it is with great respect for all things bubonic, devoid of water and suffocated that we induct Pestilence’s groundbreaking Consuming Impulse into the Hall of Fame—its tacky, now cult cover intact.
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