Released: 2011, Mascot Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I’m not sure if Patrick Mameli is purposely trying to destroy the legacy of Pestilence, but for f@#k’s sake, he’s doing a stellar job at it. Okay, so 2009’s reunion album RESURRECTION MACABRE was a good, but not great return to the metal scene, but it was a far cry from the progressive flavored frenzy of the band’s heyday. Now we see the release of DOCTRINE, which could quite possibly end up being 2011’s most epic fail. If you’re a Pestilence fan, think of all the things that you loved about the band – aggressive, pseudo technical riffing, lots of colorful solos, and a penchant from writing dynamic and engaging death metal tunes. Now strip all that away, tune the 8-string guitars down to an unintelligible mush, layer the songs in a repetitive wash of boring chugga-chugga deathcore riffs and voila, DOCTRINE.
Seriously, I can’t for the life of me figure out what the intent was with DOCTRINE, or with Pestilence today in general. Save for a few sparse exceptions, the ten tracks on the album (not counting the intro) are interchangeable and uninteresting. I’d expect this from some wet behind the ears upstarts, not from a band that used to be mentioned alongside Death, Atheist, and Morbid Angel. This is supposed to be the same band that wrote “Out of the Body” and “Twisted Truth”?
The only thing that makes DOCTRINE even remotely palatable is the rhythm section of bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling and new drummer Yuma Van Eekelen. JP’s fretless six-string wizardry spends much of the time buried low in the mix for most of the album, but on certain tracks like “Absolution,” “Sinister,” and “Deception (the best track of the whole album),” you can hear why he’s so highly regarded as a musician even outside the metal world. Matter of fact, they did the same thing to Tony Choy on the last album too. And Van Eekelen’s drum work is relentless and tight, and is unfortunately under-utilized within the context of these tunes.
DOCTRINE is a prime example of why it’s better for some bands just to stay split-up. If this is where Mameli’s musical head is at, so be it, but save this crap for another C-187 project. The Pestilence brand deserves better, but more importantly, Pestilence fans deserve better. Forget DOCTRINE ever happened; don’t let this album sully the memories of how great they used to be.