Blackened Death Metal - United States

Pessimist Band

One of the premiere bands to emerge out of the early Baltimore, MD death metal scene, with their 1993 demo Dark Reality, PESSIMIST played their first shows opening for national acts Incantation, Deicide, and Malevolent Creation. In 1995, the band self-released the EP Absence of Light on cassette and landed gigs opening for Testament, Forbidden, Suffocation, and Napalm Death.

In 1997 PESSIMIST signed to Lost Disciple Records and released their debut CD Cult of the Initiated, which charted on CMJ Top 40 Loud Rock Charts, and received acclaim from around the world. The band continued to play shows in the Mid-Atlantic region, opening for Cryptopsy, Nile, Gorguts, Dying Fetus, Vader, Monstrosity, and festival appearances at Milwaukee Metalfest XII, New England Metal and Hardcore Fest – and the band’s first European tour with Fleshless (Cz) in 1999.

PESSIMIST released their second CD, Blood For the Gods, in 1999, which soared into the CMJ Top 30 and received the prestigious “Pick of the Issue.. 10 Fucking Skulls” in SOD Magazine. PESSIMIST became recognized for their unique brand of brutal and technical Black/Death Metal, with old-school thrash influences, an emphasis on quality songwriting, powerful live shows and a dark, evil sound.

In 2001, the band traveled to Tampa, FL to record with producer Erik Rutan, for their third CD, Slaughtering the Faithful, which featured a re-vamped lineup and a faster, more extreme musical direction. More shows followed with Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Krisiun, Immolation, Cannibal Corpse, Dark Funeral, festival appearances at March Metal Meltdown, New England Metal and Hardcore Fest, and November to Dismember.

PESSIMIST returned in 2008 with the Evolution Unto Evil CD, a compilation of rare/live demo recordings and tributes to Kreator, Megadeth, and Possessed, which was co-released on Pathos Prod and Deathgasm Recs. This was followed by appearances at New England Deathfest and Hostile City Deathfest. In 2009, the band returned to Europe for their second European tour with label-mates Pandemia (CZ).

In between downtime with the band, founder/guitarist Kelly McLauchlin had also been a member of bands such as UNHOLY GHOST, DIABOLIC, filled in live with ANGELCORPSE, and had later joined Death Metal legends POSSESSED, touring with the band from 2011-2013.

In 2018, PESSIMIST returned to the stage at Maryland Deathfest, headlining Las Vegas Deathfest, Rage of Armageddon Fest (NY), and Ruinfest (CA), and in 2019 released a new single, Keys to the Underworld, which featured studio drummer Kevin Talley (Dying Fetus, Suffocation) and bassist Kelly Conlon (Monstrosity, Death).

Now, in their latest incarnation, the current PESSIMIST lineup includes founder/guitarist Kelly McLauchlin (I Am Morbid, Possessed, etc.), new bassist recruit Andrew Bowen (Carnal Necrosis), and vocalist Ivan Alison aka “The Evil One” (Black Mass).

The band is currently writing music for the next full-length album, ‘Keys to the Underworld’.


  • Kelly McLauchlin : Guitars
  • Andrew Bowen : Bass
  • Ivan Alison : Vocals
  • Tim Yeung : Drums
Posted on November 28, 2023

While mixing for their long-awaited fourth album is already well underway, Pessimist aren’t wasting anytime announcing their plans for next year.

Posted on June 9, 2021

American blackened death metal icons PESSIMIST (ft. Kelly McLauchlin of POSSESSED, I AM MORBID, etc.) will be releasing their signature “Blood for the Gods” mead as part of Brimming Horn Meadery’s ‘Mead and Metal” series! The mead is made with plum and aronia berries that have been aged 6 month in oak barrels, promising a “dark, sweet, and divine” flavor palate. The drink will be made available on June 11 to coincide with the release of the vinyl reissue of the band’s sophomore record of the same name.

Posted on April 29, 2021

American blackened death metal icons PESSIMIST (ft. Kelly McLauchlin of POSSESSED, I AM MORBID, etc.) have now entered the  Black Attack Studios in Los Angeles, CA (USA) to begin recording their long awaited  fourth full-length album, ‘Keys to the Underworld,’ with engineer Ira Black! This will be the band’s first full-length record since 2002’s ‘Slaughtering the Faithful.’ In addition, the band is also now welcoming drummer Tim Yeung (I AM MORBID, DIVINE HERESY, HATE ETERNAL, etc.) to the recording lineup! ‘Keys to the Underworld’ will be released by Season of Mist at a later date. Stay tuned!

Posted on April 14, 2021

American blackened death metal icons PESSIMIST (ft. Kelly McLauchlin of POSSESSED, I AM MORBID, etc.) will be issuing their first three albums on vinyl for the first time ever! ‘Cult of the Initiated,’ (1997) ‘Blood for the Gods,’ (1999) and ‘Slaughtering the Faithful’ (2002) will all contain never-before-heard bonus tracks and other extras as well, such as new layouts and rare, archival band photos. The release dates are as follows:

Posted on November 18, 2020

Season of Mist is pleased to announce the signing of American death metal icons PESSIMIST (ft. Kelly McLauchlin of I AM MORBID, EX-live POSSESSED, etc.)! In addition to a new full-length, which the band is currently writing, the label will be releasing the band’s early full-length records in the coming months. Stay tuned!

See all Pessimist news