Pestilence

Doctrine

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

[4/24/11]
[Mascot]

 

Pestilence were once among the giants in the early death metal scene. The release of their albums Malleus Maleficarum and Consuming Impulse shaped the sound of death metal as we know it. These two albums featured the legendary god of the growl, Martin Van Drunen on vocals. But, bands change. Pestilence soon became much more of a progressive outfit influenced by Cynic, where bassist Jeroen Paul Thesseling now of Obscura fame got his start on the album Spheres back in in ’93 after the release of Testimony of the Ancients (which featured Tony Choy on bass!). They soon broke up, and reformed in 2008 to release Resurrection Macabre. Soon after Resurrection Macabre we have this, the new album Doctrine.

Their previous effort really wasn’t to my liking, so I was wary to give this a spin and for good reason. The album starts with your average sampled, half-ass attempt at being atmospheric that every death metal band ever has tried. Nothing to worry about yet, just a couple seconds until the album actually starts. Although, I wish it hadn’t. Old bands lose their shine after a while, and that’s to be expected.

The first real song opens up with some super muddy eight-string riffing and average drums. I had no idea there would be eight-string use on this album, so it was a neat surprise. When I say the guitars are muddy, I mean super muddy. The tone is really bad and it’s kind of hard to make things out. It’s not good death doom or sludge muddy either; it’s just bad production. The riffs feel really silly and odd. They have a nice groove to them occasionally, but overall it feels weak and sloppily put together. When the vocals come in I burst out laughing. It’s hard to describe how bad that first scream is. I’m really having a hard time trying to word what I want to say about this. The vocals sound like a drunken chain smoker with strep throat trying to cover MVD songs on death metal karaoke night.

The album continues on in a similar fashion almost all the way through. Disjointed half wanky klonk-a-donk eight-string riffs are thrown together over sub-par, over-produced, clacky drums that do nothing but exist. Every once in a while you get the increasingly abundant shitty fusion jazz solo that’s starting to oversaturate itself in metal. There isn’t a single point where the vocals get better, nor the guitars.

The one thing that stands out on this album, almost giving it a glimmer of hope, is the bass. The aforementioned Jeroen Paul Thesseling returns with his brilliant fretless six-string skills to tear shit up. He easily doubles the guitar, or lays down some original rhythm when he feels like it. The track “Deception” even has a cool bass solo from him, so that’s neat.

There’s not much else I can say about this album. It’s horribly written, the production is insanely bad and everything feels like it was put together within a couple days. I’m truly at a loss for words here. This is like the Atheist comeback fiasco, only the new Atheist was a Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and this is a non-Hodgkin’s sort and has already begun to infect your other major organs multiplying the shit level more than ten fold. Good lord, what has happened.

Pestilence’s Doctrine gets…

1.5/5

- MW