Since returning from a 16-year hiatus in 2009, legendary Dutch technical metal band Pestilence hasn’t slowed down, releasing four albums since then, and currently awaiting the release of their new album, Exitivm on June 25 via Agonia Records.

And while the lineup of Pestilence has gone through many changes, guitarist and vocalist Patrick Mameli has remained the one constant, appearing on each of the band’s releases. Along with his musical endeavors, Mameli is a longtime martial artist, and in preparation for the release of Exitivm spoke to about his love of combat sports, Pestilence’s new album, and returning to live performing after having a year’s worth of shows wiped out due to the novel coronavirus.

Pestilence Firstly, Patrick, tell us what got you into martial arts? Was there a particular one at first that interested you before you got into others?

Patrick Mameli: Well, I started to get into martial arts at a young age; starting at age 10 with a more of a defense sport called Judo. Because we moved to a different part of the city I only reached brown belt. I soon realized that I wanted to get into karate rather than Judo, since my father was taking karate lessons. But soon I realized that Karate was not for me either.

I was growing up in a suburb of my hometown Enschede, where there was a lot of criminality and aggression. Just crossing the street could get you in trouble. There were a lot of youth gangs. Every day I had to “fight” for my life going from one street to the next. Going through their territory was asking for trouble. Even at age 12 and karate didn`t help since these kids don`t fight fair and follow no rules. So I started to orientate myself. Did being a fan of combat sports inspire you to want to train in them? Has there been any worry about injuries to your hands from training or do you have to take precautions to prevent injury?

Patrick Mameli: I started to hang out at the local boxing and MMA school, to get a glimpse of what these guys were all about. This is how I kind of rolled into it. I started to fight against guys that had to fight in real matches as their warm up. It thought me the ropes. Now THIS helped me a lot when crossing territory. It was a combination of bare knuckle and street fighting. Kind of the same as the backyard brawls we all love to watch from Kimbo Slice.

But obviously my hands and fingers are very dear to me and I need them for my instrument. I never back down for any confrontation though; because on tour, or weekend shows, “special moments” can occur. How would you say combat sports and music connect? Is there a kinship in the technical skills that go into both or the emotions or feelings and expression they can bring out in a person?

Patrick Mameli: I only know that it gives me the same satisfaction. My music is very aggressive.

After a show I`m fully drained of my energy but totally relaxed and satisfied. MMA and full contact sports require also technical skills but are so much more intense mentally and physically. It will bruise you! My music could help a fighter though, to get in an instant aggressive mood, and have the best work out or performance in the ring. Pestilence is due to release a new album soon. What can fans expect from Exitivm? What would make fans longtime and new alike excited for this album?

Patrick Mameli: Like an upcoming fight, one never knows what to expect with Pestilence. My albums are always different; every time a new opponent almost. This album has evolved into this new beast, and I hope fans will embrace it. I hope MMA fighters will have a listen too and use it for their work out, or even pre-fight, so they will get into the mood to get into the ring or the octagon to dominate!!! I know some of the bigger names out there love their metal. It appears shows and touring will be able to happen again soon. How does it feel to be able to be able to perform live again for fans after all the cancellations last year?

Patrick Mameli: It`s like you live up to that moment to be able to perform and then when you can’t, it a big letdown; very frustrating to say the least. Hopefully the world will open up again so we can all enjoy life the way it was supposed to be! Thank you for your time, Patrick. Is there anything you would like to add in closing?

Patrick Mameli: I would like to thank you, Mick, and all the people involved in making this happen. I love MMA and I love their fighting mentality. My wish is for everyone to treat each other with respect but never to betray your inner core self for money, fame or greed. Peace!