Photo by Stefan Schipper
Pestilence (from left to right): Dave Haley (drums), Patrick Uterwijk (lead guitars), Patrick Mameli (lead guitars, vocals) and Georg Maier (bass).
“Doctrine”, the second latest album from Pestilence starts with something that sounds like a sacred sermon. In just a few seconds the mood changes, from holy to hellish. It sets the tone for the rest of the album. Although "Doctrine" is not a concept album in a traditional sense, the songs are tied together thematically. The lyrics deal with the various ways humanity often suffers under the burden of religion, doctrines and politics. "I always put a lot of effort in the lyrics", says Patrick Mameli. "I never felt the need to write so called gore lyrics, like so many other bands do. I am aware of what is going on in the world and I have the feeling that I have something to say about it."
The curse of religious and political oppression is a theme that fits the music perfectly. "Doctrine" is by far the most extreme album the Dutch death metal band Pestilence unleashed to its worldwide fan base. The album proves at the same time that even after 25 years the band is still willing to take chances. It offers thought provoking lyrics, dissonant chords, complex rhythm patterns and an assault of low tuned monster riffs. Intensity is the key word. Like it always has been.
Pestilence started in 1986. Initially the band was heavily influenced by American and German thrash metal. By the time of their second album, "Consuming Impulse" from 1989, the band had developed its own style: brutal death metal. In the years that followed Pestilence became one of the prime bands in the international death metal scene. The group, based around guitarist, songwriter and (then occasional) vocalist Patrick Mameli, toured relentlessly. Especially tours in the US proved to be very successful.
The band became more skilled over the years, and outside influences crept into the music. This all lead in 1993 to the album "Spheres", on which Patrick Mameli combined his well loved death metal sound with a new musical passion: fusion. The album was an artistic triumph, but was at the same time many years ahead of its time. In 1994 Pestilence disbanded and Patrick Mameli withdrew from the music scene.
The band announced its comeback in 2008. Any possible skepticism was blown away when in 2009 the new album "Resurrection Macabre" hit the streets. The still loyal fan base was treated with an album that had all the classic ingredients, but showed an even better musicianship than before. The international line up consisted of singer and guitarist Patrick Mameli, bass player Tony Choy, drummer Peter Wildoer and guitarist Patrick Uterwijk. After the release of the album the band toured Europe, The US and South America, playing for old fans and metal maniacs that were way too young the first time around. "The magic was there again", says Patrick Mameli, looking back.
Never a band to rest on its laurels Pestilence will again blow away the audience with the brand new studio recording. The sound on the album is dominated by the eight string guitars that both Patrick Mameli and Patrick Uterwijk started to use in the period leading up to the album. It gives the songs a brutal, low edged sound that sets a new standard in extreme metal. "The eight string guitar opened a lot of new doors for us", says Patrick Mameli. "It gives us lots of new musical options and allows us to make the music sound more brutal than before. At the same time it forced me to sing in a higher pitch, because I didn"t want to get my vocals in the way of the low tuned guitar parts. It was a blessing in disguise. My vocals sound more intense and manic than before."
"Doctrine" marks also a partly new line up that is entirely Dutch again. Jeroen Paul Thesseling was already around during the "Spheres" days. The latest addition is 23 year old drummer Yuma van Eekelen, who is also making his name as member of The New Dominion. "It was partly out of idealism that I returned in 2008 with an international line up", recalls Patrick Mameli. "It was a great experience, but it was very hard to really work together due to the distance and time. For instance, we never had the possibility to practice on a regular basis. We do now. We exchange ideas, go out together and tell each other which cool albums to check out. Just like in the old tape trader days. It"s great. Pestilence finally feels like a real band again."