PESTILENCE
"Doctrine"

(Mascot)

01. The Predication (intro)
02. Amgod
03. Doctrine
04. Salvation
05. Dissolve
06. Absolution
07. Sinister
08. Divinity
09. Deception
10. Malignant
11. Confusion

RATING: 8/10

It's time we move on from over-thought discussions of PESTILENCE comeback album "Resurrection Macabre" that often pertained to the fact that it wasn't "Testimony of the Ancients" or "Spheres" and get to the business of enjoying the Dutch act for again bringing to the scene technically-oriented, quality death metal. Chalk it up to a reformed group shaking off the rust if you must, but it's difficult to argue against the position that "Resurrection" was at least better than the majority of death metal albums released that year. In any case, "Doctrine" is a better album that gives off a vibe indicating that guitarist/vocalist Patrick Mameli is reenergized and undeterred in his continuing quest to push the death metal envelope without abandoning the fundamental characteristics that make a song hard to forget.

An album's worth of material thematically grounded in portraying religion as the dangerous province of manipulative powers and the blind faithful, it is "Deception" that is a good representation of what this album is all about. Moving along at a pace that gets the blood flowing, its MESHUGGAH angularity, the Jeroen Paul Thesseling's bass solo, and lyrical content ("believing is following / deception is religion / religion is life") forming a cohesive collection of elements that is both intriguing and memorable. Throughout the album what works remarkably well are those odd time signatures contrasting with the down-tuned, sandpaper textures of Mameli's and Patrick Uterwijk's eight-string guitars, as well as the captivatingly strange jazz/fusion leads, which — for purposes of a reference point — are also rather MESHUGGAH-like. That the songs are connected in a way that reinforces flow — matching the common lyrical themes — without being redundant speaks to Mameli's clever songwriting abilities.

Stated an alternate way, there are so many songs — "Amgod", "Salvation", and "Sinister", to name a few — that stick so tightly to the ribs because of arranging that is not so much "melodic" in a traditional sense, as rooted in conventional structuring (e.g. recognizable verse-chorus-verse patterns) that is poked, pushed, and prodded in a manner that is distinguishably PESTILENCE.

The swampy riffing may be similar in some respects to MORBID ANGEL and the patterning occasionally bringing to mind DEATH and ATHEIST, but those aspects are less a product of influence than an indicator of PESTILENCE's status as part of a group of late '80s/early '90s technical death metal pioneers. Let's hope Mameli keeps the wheels of PESTILENCE turning for several more years.

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