Not long after the fairly brilliant Dauðafærð, Sweden's Pest returned in disappointing fashion with the March 2005 release of their second full-length album, In Total Contempt. This is a clear case of one step forward, two steps back. Though still clearly derivative of other bands, the previous E.P. was superior to anything that the band had ever released. For a time, Pest had redeemed themselves. To then follow this with such a weak effort is a bit puzzling.
In Total Contempt sounds like it was recorded by an entirely different band than the one that created the monumental Dauðafærð E.P. Here, Pest returns to their tenth-rate Darkthrone worship, unleashing nearly forty minutes of rehashed ideas with absolutely nothing added to the formula. To make matters worse, they seem to have been listening to a lot of Panzerfaust when making this album, utilizing a watered-down take of Fenriz's interpretation of Celtic Frost, at various times. I would say that these bits are out of place and ruin the flow of the songs, but the truth is that these compositions are dreadful and seem to have just been thrown together with no real vision. As opposed to the band's previous release, there isn't a shred of darkness or atmosphere to be found on this album.
Even if the songwriting had been leagues better, the production would have remained a significant problem. Overall, it has a grating sense to it, something associated with a lot of modern recordings that are trying to sound lo-fi without actually sticking to analog equipment. The vocals have some static effect to them, just another horrible modern element that could have been done without.
Pest's second full-length is a tedious listen, indeed. To call In Total Contempt a mediocre effort would imply that these guys even tried in the first place. This album is pure garbage, through and through. The fact that they dedicated this disgusting piece of excrement to the recently-deceased Quorthon is an insult to the man. There isn't a single positive thing that I can say about this atrocity. Despite its influences, this album completely sounds like a product of its time and is nothing less than an utter failure. Avoid this, by all means.