Legendary progressive tech death metal band Pestilence will unleash their sixth full-length release to North American masses on July 19, 2011 via Mascot Records. Pestilence had a few significant contributions to the death metal genre in the late 80s and 90s, but made a radical shift in styles by incorporating jazz fusion elements into their sound and, as what happens a lot of times when you do that, they alienated much of their fan base.
Since their 2009 reunion, they have returned to their death metal roots, but then, with the release of Doctrine, they are trying to push the point again with the jazz fusion elements, the extent of which are not as forceful as it was with Spheres, but they are still there. That is not to say that Doctrine does not work, because with a lot of the tracks, they do work and the mixed elements remind me of an Atheist type sound.
Much of the album is fluent and progressive with each track, but some songs become muddled with too much going on and that is never a good thing for me. I am all for alternate time signatures and progressive sounds in music, but a lot of what Pestilence is doing with Doctrine does not work. Some of the riffs are heavy and death metal inspired, but the constant switching to the jazz fusion style makes the songs a bit messy and these elements seem forced into the tracks.
All in all, it is a decent release though and I am sure that a lot of Pestilence diehards will get their money’s worth with Doctrine. For me, it is just not working though.