Released: 2011, Mascot Records
Well, he's done it again, and if you know anything about Patrick Mameli you shouldn't be in the least bit surprised, especially not after a record as soaked in tradition as 2009's RESURRECTION MACABRE. Like TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENTS did for them in years gone by, Pestilence's comeback record laid down a formidable marker when it came to technical death metal. And like the shocking creative departure that was SPHERES, DOCTRINE veers sharply and unexpectedly to the left.
That being said, even the most conservative Pestilence acolyte shouldn't get their knickers in a bind pre-emptively. For one thing, this effort is still heavy as all get-out; Mameli's guitar tone may be noticeably cleaner than the vintage rumble he sported last time around, but it takes nothing away from the fact that "Amgod" and "Salvation" are two snarling, brutal bastards. It would be unfair too, to put this outing's experimental quirks on a level plane to those exhibited on SPHERES. Certainly, the jazz histrionics for which Mameli is a self-confessed nut, enjoy a far greater prominence than they did last time around. However, you certainly won't catch me complaining when they're responsible for such brilliantly haunting cuts as "Dissolve". Here Jeroen Paul Thesseling deserves special mention too for turning in a performance on his bass guitar that's nothing short of stellar.
If DOCTRINE suffers from any major Achilles heel, it's Patrick's vocals. Having sounded like the more ornery half-brother of Regan McNeil no less than two years ago, either time spent on the road hasn't done him any favours or he intentionally set out to sound like a man with his nuts in a vice. Either way, it won't be remembered as his finest hour. It shouldn't put you off the album, mind you - but it's that bad that it just might.