Release: 'Perdition Discipline' (2010)
Jaded popular humour may often deride Canada as the United States of America's straight-laced, boring cousin, but in the arena of extreme music, Canada has no problem holding its head high.
Able to boast endlessly seminal acts such as Blasphemy, Conqueror and Revenge, the implacable Canadian zeal for sonic intensity is one many undergrounds worldwide could only ever wish for.
Deepening the footprints left by all too short-lived acts like Ouroboros, Rites of Thy Degringolade and currently 'on-hold' Gloria Diaboli, Pestkreuz have floated to the top of the often stagnant and derivative traditional/'orthodox' black metal murk.
'Perdition Discipline' is one of those incredibly comfortable and proficient self-released demos that boast the aroma of well-cooked concepts and unshakeable focus; this is a band and demo with an unnervingly tangible determination.
This offering's four tracks present a heady mixture of early Satyricon and 'Devilry'-era Funeral Mist, with just enough tempo variation mercifully avoiding breaking the flow of the release. Some sections may appear predictable, but there are a sufficient number of unfolding melodies throughout the demo that work to keep the listener engaged. Typically frenzied, yet creative and interesting, tremolo picking abounds, weaving in and out of consistently strong percussion and an impressive, decipherable vocal performance.
Declarations such as, "Pestkreuz exists solely to spread the Gospel of Plague ... [to] shake the uninitiated from their cosmic illusions, and elevate the adept towards the fruits of Gnosis", may seem commonplace to contemporary black metal followers, but Pestkreuz succeed in bounding over that cusp that leaves a lot of black metal in the lamentable realm of sincerity versus self-parody.
Suitably dark, religious imagery has been deftly manipulated and inverted for the release's accompanying artwork; a ghoul-like Christ bids us follow him into damnation, a hangman's noose draped over each open palm, as winged serpents adorn the cornices.
Though but a morsel compared to the feast that Pestkreuz would surely offer on a full-length release, 'Perdition Discipline' is a fresh and arresting presentation of black metal, one that adheres to the genre's sensibilities and traditions but also adds fuel to its sardonic existence.
Also submitted to metal-archives.com under the username 'torchia', 24 October, 2011.