Thursday, 16 February 2012

Review: Pilgrim - Misery Wizard

 Sometimes, certain types of music have to stay in an underground dwelling. Most music that hits the mainstream with flying colours earn their place their for the snappy, hook filled and sickeningly upbeat nature. Sometimes it all gets a bit much and the best choice is to simply start digging until you find yourself completely surrounded by underground territory. And here you can find music that has the exact opposite of the general qualities regarding this mainstream sound. You will find music that is horrendously slow, requires total focus and depth when listening and is filled to the brim with absolute bleakness and despair. It's something we like to call Doom Metal and there are always fantastic acts to be found practicing the genre with more bleakness to be found with every new band. And droning their way from the gates of Hell to a rise in recognition amongst the underground in 2012 are Pilgrim, whose debut release Misery Wizard is an impressive force of unrelenting depression.

 I know nothing of this band they keep a strong sense of anonymity with stage names that aren't even worth questioning - their frontman is known only as "The Wizard", their bassist "Count Elric the Soothsayer" and drummer "Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer of Man" - and we know nothing of how they may speed their time, but I think I'm going to hazard a guess and suggest their spare time is spent with heavy drug usage and classic Black Sabbath records. There is no room for any glass-is-half-full natured ideals on this album. Tracks like Astaroth and the near-eleven-minute title track are filled with stretched out riffs that trudge along at snails-pace, which mixed with the subtly wild uncontrollable drumming of Splinterfist, which reveals a real influence from Bill Ward and the phantom-like howls of The Wizard give the songs a spacey, haunting and ultimately hopeless atmosphere that is so filled with absolute doom and despair that it gives me the impression that listening to the new Earth album is going to be an uplifting and heartwarming experience. (I'll listen to that album soon. Maybe when Spotify does what it's meant to do and... store music... when I need it.) Really though, this Sabbath influence is everywhere on this album and sometimes it can be difficult to find any kind of riff on this album that doesn't sound like the intro to War Pigs repeated for ten or so minutes.
 Sometimes the music Pilgrim makes isn't just the sprawling sound of death. Quest and Adventurer see the trio unleash the wonderful stoner groove, the kind of musical technique that never gets old or unfashionable and it makes these tracks genuinely badass as they tear their way into the depths of oblivion in a manner much more brash and extreme as The Wizard begins to add to the atmosphere, letting devilish growls take form and reveal a true metallic evil in their distorted assault.
 So, it's six tracks long but that's more than enough album space for Pilgrim to unleash the monolithic beasts within them delivering an ultimate spaced out sense of doom and spellbinding bleakness to all those needing their optimism to receive a severe beatdown. It's classically recorded, contains the musical sound of getting dragged into the pits of fire and brimstone and is rooted in complete doom. This album is the sound of the end of everything.

 Pilgrim's Misery Wizard is out now via Metal Blade.

No comments:

Post a Comment