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PESTILENCE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Netherlands


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Pestilence biography
Pestilence are a Death metal band originating from the Netherlands.

They started off in 1986 as a thrash metal band in 1986 before moving into death metal territory in 1989 with their classic death metal release 'Consuming Impulse' drawing critical acclaim.

The album that helped reshape the death metal genre, though, was their seminal 1993 album "Spheres", melding elements of jazz fusion, death metal and prog they created a unique brand of progressive metal.

After the release of spheres the band were unable to agree on which direction their music should take and broke up shortly after in 1994 so the members could focus on their own bands.

Recently, there has been a live release from the band in 2006, "Chronicles of the Scourge".

(Thanks to Richard (FruMp) for the artist information and bio.)





Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
PESTILENCE incorporated jazz/fusion elements to their highly technical brand of death/thrash metal, very much in the same vein as bands like CYNIC.



Discography:
Malleus Malleficarum, studio album (1988)
Consuming Impulse, studio album (1989)
Testimony of the Ancients, studio album (1991)
Spheres, studio album (1993)
Mind Reflections, compilation (1994)
Chronicles of the Scourge, live (2006)
...

Pestilence official website

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PESTILENCE Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy PESTILENCE Music


Consuming Impulse / TestimonyConsuming Impulse / Testimony
Roadrunner Records 2003
Audio CD$8.89
$6.48 (used)
Consuming ImpulseConsuming Impulse
Import
Imports 1999
Audio CD$9.85
$9.91 (used)
ObsideoObsideo
Candlelight (Universal) 2013
Audio CD$8.56
$8.26 (used)
Testimony of the AncientsTestimony of the Ancients
Import
Roadrunner Int'l 1991
Audio CD$30.79
$19.98 (used)
DoctrineDoctrine
The Royal Potato Family 2011
Audio CD$8.10
$6.79 (used)
Resurrection MacabreResurrection Macabre
Mascot Records 2009
Audio CD$3.99
$3.99 (used)
SpheresSpheres
Import
Roadrunner Int'l 1993
Audio CD$60.15
$43.00 (used)
Mallevs Malicrmv / DemosMallevs Malicrmv / Demos
Import
Displeased Holland 2006
Audio CD$453.89
$49.99 (used)
Malleus MaleficarvmMalleus Maleficarvm
Limited Edition · Remastered
Metal Mind 2008
Audio CD$62.49
$49.99 (used)
Mind ReflectionsMind Reflections
Import
Metal Mind 2006
Audio CD$11.26
$8.98 (used)
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PESTILENCE shows & tickets


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PESTILENCE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PESTILENCE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.31 | 14 ratings
Malleus Maleficarum
1988
2.81 | 27 ratings
Consuming Impulse
1989
3.52 | 38 ratings
Testimony of the Ancients
1991
4.05 | 70 ratings
Spheres
1993
1.92 | 19 ratings
Resurrection Macabre
2009
2.77 | 11 ratings
Doctrine
2011
3.88 | 7 ratings
Obsideo
2013

PESTILENCE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Chronicles of the Scourge
2006

PESTILENCE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PESTILENCE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Mind Reflections
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Two from the Vault
2003

PESTILENCE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 2 ratings
Dysentery (Demo)
1987
1.95 | 2 ratings
The Penance (Demo)
1987

PESTILENCE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Obsideo by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.88 | 7 ratings

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Obsideo
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Obsideo" is the 7th full-length studio album by technical/progressive death metal act Pestilence. The album was released through Candlelight Records in November 2013. It´s the band´s third album release since they released "Resurrection Macabre (2009)" after a 16 years long break in recording activities. In trademark Pestilence style, none of their releases sound alike and it´s always with some hesitation and fear that you put on a new album from the band.

As it turns out "Obsideo" only partially continues the trend of sounding different from it´s predecessor as there are more similarities between "Doctrine (2011)" and "Obsideo" than there probably are between any other Pestilence albums released after each other. It´s more an overall aestethic though, than it is a similarity in sound and songwriting approach. Stylistically the music on "Obsideo" is technical death metal with the occasional progressive element thrown in. The jazzy guitar solos are the most dominant progressive trait on the album, but the songwriting is also unconventional at times. Pestilence successfully balance the more headbanger friendly death metal moments with technical and progressive sections, that provide the album with an adventurous sound. Fans of more traditional death metal shouldn´t worry too much though as there are plenty of blast beats, death/thrashy riffing and crushingly heavy riff sections in the music to compliment the more sophisticated moments. The use of dissonance, which was also a relatively dominant feature on "Doctrine (2011)", is also an element of the sound on "Obsideo".

Patrick Mameli has always sounded a bit like Chuck Schuldiner (Death, Control Denied) "lite" (and mostly with great success I might add) and the same can be said about his vocal performance on "Obsideo". After the caustic vocal performance he delivered on "Doctrine (2011)", his performance here is a bit more restrained though. Still powerful and raw, but not as intense and passionate as his performance on the predecessor. New drummer David Haley (Psycroptic, The Amenta, Ruins, Blood Duster), who replaces Yuma van Eekelen, is on fire throughout the album. A greatly skilled drummer who is capable of driving the music forward in an incredibly powerful way (not that his predecessor had any trouble doing that). Bassist Georg Maier is new in the lineup too. He replaces Jeroen Paul Thesseling. Maier is a slightly less extraordinary bassist than Thesseling is, but he is skilled enough.

The material are generally well written ("Necromorph" is a highlight to my ears) and the organic sound production on "Obsideo" is professional. Paired with the excellent musicianship we have a quality release on our hands. Pestilence have twisted their sound just enough for "Obsideo" to stand out as an individual entity in their discography and while it´s not the band´s most original or unique sounding release it´s still a very enjoyable and strong album deserving a 4 star (80%) rating.

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 Doctrine by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.77 | 11 ratings

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Doctrine
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Oh. This cover art is ugly. But it's the best part of this album. The songs are poor, lack of personality, lack of creativity, lack of MUSIC. Worse than the previous one, Pestilence is fallen. The new vocals sucks. Nothing to do with the oldschool Pestilence. No more death metal, no more innovation, just the same poor groovy style. Doctrine is boring, I cannot stand the whole album, and I skip some tracks because it was bad enough, a whole album of indistinguishable songs. How could a great band turn into this? I don't know, but please, don't touch this album.

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 Resurrection Macabre  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2009
1.92 | 19 ratings

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Resurrection Macabre
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Sometimes a band changes the style and it works great. And sometimes not.

I feel hurt reading good reviews for this album. Pestilence was an amazing oldschool death/ thrash metal band, so they went to the experimental way, and now, they came back with the conventional poor groovy metal. This is worst than pop metal bands. They're worst than Avenged Svnfld and metalcore/deathcore bands here. I'm really disappointed, because they used to be the death metal Voivod (the Spheres album is a masterpiece). This is a musical regret. Please, come back, Pestilence, come back. Resurrection Macabre is not a return album. I will try to forget about this one.

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 Testimony of the Ancients  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.52 | 38 ratings

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Testimony of the Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pestilence - Testimony of the Ancients (1991)

Pestilence is a technical well developed death metal band from Holland that on their 'Testimony of the Ancients'-album set their first step into progressive territory, before recording the fusion-drenched 'Spheres'-album after this one. The band has been credited with being one of the first to discover this territory, combing the death metal sound with mild symphonic arrangements and a broadened eye for harmony and atmosphere. Furthermore, Pestilence plays some very melodic parts on a few tracks reminding me a bit of Iron Maiden.

The sheer heavyness of Pestilence with its very heavy grunts make this only interesting for those who are already fans of the technical death metal genre. I myself like the very heavy Metallica 2.0 sound and interplay and the technical playing of the bandmembers. It's like taking the genre to the extreme. The doomsday feel and slightly gothic keyboard-arrangements on some track give the music more depth. Between every death metal track one finds a short atmospheric interlude, which provides us with some breathing space.

Conclusion. Interesting slightly progressive death metal album that will satisfy listeners of the genre and those interested in its development. Three and a halve stars, though from a metal- point-of-view it would deserve four.

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 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.05 | 70 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Pestilence - Spheres (1993)

Dutch technical and heavy death metal group Pestilence had already made some pretty heavy trash records before embarking on their one and only truly progressive/fusion death metal album. For many fans of the progressive metal genre it is seen as a revolutionary album, I myself don't know to much about the development of this particular breed of metal.

Pestilence sill has death metal growls, heavy drums and guitars, but some keyboards have entered the mix and time signatures and harmonies have developed quite a bit. The album also sounds a bit more 'electronic' then other albums of the band. All compositions are short and have a more or less traditional form. This isn't much of a problem, because the riffs are all very complex and the harmonic findings are revealed only after a few spins. I'd say it took my at least five listens to acquire some tolerance towards this aggressive maze of riffs and painful shouting. After this a really well composed album begins to appear and I feel enjoyment listening to the inventive use of the death metal elements. Some interludes with keyboard sound a bit dated, but let's not forget this was recorded almost twenty years ago. The production doesn't impress me a lot, but another album of Pestilence also sounded way better on a vinyl and I only have digital copy of this one.

Conclusion. Not an easy entry, but surely a good album for the technical death metal scene. The words jazz and fusion seem a bit out of place, but one does find some extended chords now and then. A well, three and halve stars. Dutch heritage.

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 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.05 | 70 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Prog Sothoth
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars One of the strangest death metal albums out there that is still firmly entrenched in the 'death metal' sound, Spheres immediately challenges the listener with its unusual production qualities combined with odd tempo rhythms and anguished vocals. It's an interesting beast, and an interesting stylistic shift for the band which would not revisit this unique approach to metal in the future, at least until now.

Utilizing a producer whose forte is not exactly abrasive metal, the focus is more on making sure each instrument is heard clearly than pummeling the senses, and the guitars don't weigh in with a particularly 'heavy' distortion. In fact, they sound warm enough to cozy up to by the fireside. Bass playing is fretless and audible, and quite an excellent display of showmanship at times by a man who much later would be part of another band with sc-fi leaning recordings named Obscura for a period of time. Drumming is busy and difficult while neither being particularly jazzy nor blasting away with fast thrashy tempos. There's a sort of mid-tempo vibe to this entire endeavor while creatively bouncing around with its time signatures.

The vocals help keep the death metal flame within this group alive, consisting of unusually throaty growls that remind me of Death's vocalist or Lemmy from Motorhead in the throes of one screaming mad seizure. Notable proggish cut "Personal Energy" stands out from the rest of the tracks with its mellow flow and distant robotic vocals providing atmosphere.

Another feature of this record is the synth usage, although in this case it's synth guitars rather than apparently "uncool" keyboards (which they had used in their previous effort). The band emphasizes that no keyboards were used in the liner notes for this album. Great, except that some of this synth guitar layers alone come across as a bit cheesy at times, like a score to some 1970s low budget sci-fi flick involving model spaceships dangling from strings chasing each other in front of a black curtain backdrop.

As a progressive metal album, it more than qualifies and possesses an individual sound that has hardly been duplicated since. It's also a style that can wear out its welcome, since many of these tracks have such similarities that the overall distinction of the album loses that aspect when it comes to individual tracks excepting the instrumentals and "Personal Energy". The vocals themselves can get a bit irritating at times, not because of growling itself, but this sort of "throaty" wail branch of growling is not exactly my favorite design of the form.

An interesting and odd interpretation of extreme metal.

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 Testimony of the Ancients  by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.52 | 38 ratings

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Testimony of the Ancients
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by CCVP
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Going in the right direction

As heavy metal continued to evolve as the 1980's were comming to an end, you could see that something was about to change completely for a number of bands, whose albums could foreshadow some years in advance. Voivod had Dimension Hatröss, Death had Human, Queensr˙che had Rage for Order, Savatage had Streets, Fates Warning had Waken the Guardian and Pestilence had Testimony. Even though Testimony of the Ancients is a straight death metal album for the most part, there are substantial parts of it that point to the direction that the band would take not much time after, such as leaving behind a considerable part of the brutality of Consuming Impulse and foc using in improving their compositional craft and the playing abilities; the biggest case for them, for me, in both cases would be the third song, Twisted Truth, which features some of the most amazing and memorable guitar solos of death metal, leaving me mesmerized everytime I listen to that song.

Testimony of the Ancients also feature a noticeable deal of experimentation on the part of this Dutch band, having keyboards playing on multiple instances (what is still somewhat a taboo amongst extreme bands today, so I can only imagine the backlash they had then based on the fact that the band made some effort to make it clear, on Spheres, that did not used any keyboards) as well as having a number of interludes (though some would call them fillers) through the whole album, which both conclude the song that preceded and introduced the next, what isn't something you would find in any given album, specially in death metal genre. Even the cover is unusual for death metal standards, with a metallic sphere of some sort in what seems to be a tower in castle or fortification, giving the album something of a mystical aura instead of the usual gore/splatter/shock cover art.

Being the middle ground between Consuming Impulse and Spheres, however, has a price: inconsistence; not in quality, mind you, but in integration. In Testimony the band has some hard time integrating their traditional, so to speak, death metal with the new found progressive approach they are employing through the album. It is possible to see the stark change between the death and the prog in a matter of moments. Once again I would like to draw attention to Twisted Truth, where just some few notes separate the brutal atmosphere (made solely by the guitars, bass and drums) and the melodic guitar solos and hooks (which have the keyboard added to the mix, playing in the background, what reinforces the dramatic change in the song's tone).

Both the production and the musicianship here are great, what only add to the album's overall quality. The production, specifically, makes every instrument sound clear, also gives them a some rough edges to couple with the music's aggressiveness.

Rating and final thoughts

Up untill this point in their career, I could say that Pestilence was something of a generic band, being mostly influenced by other bands than actually being an influence, a point of reference. Testimony of the Ancients definitively changes the way that Pesttilence is viewd, making them a band that was not a only considered genuinely good, but also as one of those who were driving this genre forward (and unconsciously founding extreme progressive metal).

Because of all that, 4 stars for this testimony.

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 Doctrine by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.77 | 11 ratings

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Doctrine
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 'Doctrine' - Pestilence (4/10)

Perhaps it is because I was first introduced to Pestilence through their most ambitious and excellent record 'Spheres', but everything I have heard from this Dutch death metal band since has underwhelmed and disappointed me. Ironically enough, 'Spheres' was also the album that effectively killed Pestilence for the better part of two decades; the fans generally disapproved of the more jazz-based direction they were headed in, and the commercial flop cost the band its livelihood. The band only recovered from their discouragement recently, releasing the comeback album 'Resurrection Macabre' in 2009. Sadly though, it sounds like the scars of 'Spheres' rejection are still bleeding. Even on Pestilence's latest record 'Doctrine', it is evident that the band has now cornered themselves in a fairly generic and tame death metal sound. Perhaps in an effort to appease their fans and prevent a repeat, Pestilence has become a band that is afraid to stand out.

Based on a somewhat long-winded intro track of a man chanting in Latin, the artwork and album's title, one might get the implication that this is some sort of concept piece about Christianity. Mind you, even that might be reading into what 'Doctrine' has to offer a little too much. Barring the unnecessary dialogue piece, each of these tracks is a self-contained expression of mediocrity. Of the ten death metal tracks here, there is not one that stands out. Pestilence are reborn as a bland technical death metal act, although many of the guitar riffs here lack complexity. The guitar parts are rarely melodic, yet too predictable and cold to be considered heavy or exciting. At moments where there is a clear opportunity for Pestilence to do something really great, they shirk back and go for something expected, another few measures of chugging riffs, perhaps? To band mastermind Patrick Mameli's credit though, his guitar solos sound fantastic, essentially playing jazz in a metal setting. This slight fusion is only evident in the all-too scarce leads on 'Doctrine' though. The rest only seeks to underwhelm.

The vocals of Mameli have not necessarily deteriorated all that much from the band's heyday, but there is far too much of a focus on his growls here. Besides that they are mixed too highly, the guitars seem to roast on the backburner quite a bit of the time while the Schuldiner-esque vocals rasp away. The problem here is that it leads to much of the album's instrumentation building around vocals and providing 'back up', rather than grabbing hold of the reins and consistently impressing me from a technical level. The young blood drummer Yuma Van Eekelen performs very well though, pummeling away at the kit and giving a nice fire under the stale casserolle that Pestilence has become.

2011 certainly has not been the proudest year for death metal, and its sorry to see a band that was once so great, become so frightened to do anything new. The same fans who rejected Pestilence's progressive inclinations will probably find themselves pleased with 'Doctrine', but the new material of this band is unnecessary by any other means. 'Doctrine' has not been the biggest disappointment of its genre this year- after all, who can forget about that tragic Morbid Angel album- but there needs to be the will to do something new in this band before I can find myself interested in anything new they do.

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 Spheres by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.05 | 70 ratings

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Spheres
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Spheres' - Pestilence (9/10)

The early 90's can be seen as the golden era for death metal. Particularly in the south- eastern United States, bands like Death and Atheist were taking the young genre to heights of perfection, fusing classical music and jazz into the gritty, extreme sound. On the other side of the Atlantic ocean is Pestilence, a band that sounds quite a bit like the aforementioned groups. Hailing from the Netherlands, this band takes after the American pioneers, adding on a few elements onto the existing style, and comes out with an absolute masterpiece of progressive death metal. 'Spheres' may not be as widely regarded as the magnum opuses of Pestilence's US counterparts, but it is just as exciting of a listen.

Upon my first listen to this classic, my first intuition was to draw the comparison of Death's 'Symbolic' album, released around the same time as this. The growled vocals seem to be crossbred between Chuck Schuldiner of Death, and Kelly Shaefer of Atheist. With these sorts of comparisons, its a surprise that Pestilence isn't from Florida, as opposed to Holland. On a purely musical level, this band is very closely related to them. The guitarwork is composed of dark, jazzy-infused metal riffs that will get your head banging and thinking at the same time. Also an important aspect of this brand of death metal is the heavy presence of the bass guitar. Thesseling's bass performance is very jazz-influenced and clean, contrasting the guitars, filling the mix, and giving something to listen for on subsequent listens. The album is very short, lasting little over half an hour, but the tracks flow together as if 'Spheres' was a single piece of music. I may have preferred this album to last a little longer, but the brevity is only reason enough to take it for another spin right after.

While Pestilence is very close in sound and style to the Floridan death metal scene, they do bring one very unique element to the table, that being the use of synthesizers. In tandem with the proggy death metal madness, there is a back up of strange synth sounds that gives the music a spacey, sometimes otherworldly feel. 'Spheres' would have turned out to be a very capable death metal album without this addition, but with it, it creates that much more of a distinctive musical experience, and makes me feel like I am part of the album art, lost in space amidst the debris. Pestilence could be called a clone of the American bands, but I do think they bring enough fresh material to the table to be worthy on their own merits. Not only that, but they manage to take the progressive death metal style and make something of it that really amazes me, perhaps even moreso than Death or Atheist ever did. This is a really incredible album.

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 Doctrine by PESTILENCE album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.77 | 11 ratings

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Doctrine
Pestilence Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Doctrine" is the 6th full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Pestilence. The album was released in April 2011 by Mascot Records. "Doctrine" is the 2nd full-length studio album released by Pestilence since their comeback after a 16 years recording break. The first album release after the comeback was "Resurrection Macabre (2009)". "Resurrection Macabre (2009)" saw Pestilence return to a more brutal death metal sound although the high technical level of playing from "Testimony of the Ancients (1991)" and the jazzy elements from "Spheres (1993)", are still present albeit in much smaller doses.

..."Doctrine" turns out to be a very different album compared to "Resurrection Macabre (2009)". After listening to only a few tracks it´s obvious that Pestilence have turned up the knob on the progressive/technical tendencies again. We´re presented with fiercely aggressive technical death metal with a lead vocalist in Patrick Mameli who delivers his most intense and caustic performance yet. The playing on the album are really strong too. New drummer Yuma Van Eekelen needs a special mention for his varied and skillfull playing but also the 7-string fretless bass playing by the returning Jeroen Paul Thesseling adds a lot to the soundscape. The jazzy guitar solos which were about the only progressive feature on "Resurrection Macabre (2009)", are also present on "Doctrine". This time they feel a bit more natural and they blend in well with the rest of the music. Probably because the rest of the music are generally more progressive too.

The quality of the tracks is high throughout but tracks like "Amgod", "Doctrine", "Deception" and "Sinister" are definitely among the highlights. The lyrics feature some pretty strong anti-religious themes. We´re not talking blasphemous/satanic lyrics but rather critical anti-religious lyrics. I think the lyrical themes work well together with the caustic vocal delivery and it´s one of the greatest assets on "Doctrine". Of course the well played and quite intricate heavy riffs are also one of the assets. There´s a definite Gorguts, ("Obscura (1998)"-era) influence in the most dissonant riffing on "Doctrine", but as always Pestilence sound like Pestilence. They are one of the few extreme metal acts that actually have a unique sound and although they´ve experimented and developed their core sound throughout the years (with varying degrees of success) all albums they´ve released unmistakably bear the distinct sound of Pestilence.

I enjoy just about every aspect of "Doctrine". The sound production is sharp and powerful, the musicianship is excellent and the songwriting clever yet packs the right amount of death metal punch. "Doctrine" would certainly have made a much more effective comeback album than the more mediocre "Resurrection Macabre (2009)", but better late than never. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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