The new Pestilence is drastically different from their last album, Resurrection Macabre. It's still death metal, but this release offers far more variety and has many hallmarks of the tech-death sub-genre. This is just an opinion, but I think ANY band with Jeroen Paul Thesseling on bass is automatically going to be one of the top few in the tech field. Bringing him back was without question the smartest move Patrick Mameli has made in many years, as J.P.'s stamp is firmly imprinted on every one of these songs. He even has a solo on the song Deception! A bass solo on a death metal album! It sounds awesome, too, I just wish it was about five minutes longer. In addition to that, the odd, off-time, jazzy improv feel of Spheres returns, with plenty of trippy, spaced-out grooves, grinds, and solos. But, unlike Spheres, Doctrine retains the brutality of Testimony of the Ancients. I think it would fit comfortably between Testimony and Spheres, highlighting their brutal and experimental sides almost equally.
One thing people might be thrown off by are the vocals. Mameli sounds much like he did on Spheres, but with the vocals louder in the mix, you hear all kinds of strange cracking in his voice as he tries to scream up and down the register. He did a lot of this on Spheres, but the vocals were turned down lower and blended with the music. And then, he actually does a couple of high notes (?!) that I've never heard him attempt before, and the results are...weird. I don't even know if it's good or bad, but it is definitely like nothing else you've heard. For the most part, though, I think he sounds fine, delivering a more multi-dimensional style than on Resurrection Macabre. Pestilence caught flak from some because that album was mostly straightforward death metal, so Doctrine should satisfy those concerns. I don't know if everyone will like it as much as I do, but I think it's a strong addition to their discography, and it makes me excited to see where they're going to go on the next one. Wherever that ends up being, they need to make sure they do one thing...keep J.P.!!