Pilgrim II: Void Worship

Pilgrim_byHarryGouldHarveyIV-01

Pilgrim by Harry Gould Harvey

The second chapter in their aural adventure embracing wizards and warriors in a doom metal landscape, Pilgrim – II: Void Worship is a transfixing album of heavyweight persuasion and similar intensive sounds. The eight track highly anticipated continuation of the narrative and exploration bred in predecessor Misery Wizard, follows up the impressive entrance of US metallers Pilgrim with another potently formidable and richly impressive incitement of senses and imagination. Whether tales of magical lands and exploits of sword and sorcery ignite a hunger or like us just provides another lyrical colour to enjoy and move swiftly on from, there is no denying the hypnotic and darkly seductive persuasion of the band’s new album. Whether tempting with all the lures of a bewitched temptress or droning with a meditative persistence, Void Worship is a magnet hard to pull away from.

The band’s debut album rose up in 2012 to fan and critical acclaim, and alongside their exhausting live performances thrust Pilgrim under an intensive spotlight which bred the agitated eagerness for the band’s sophomore release. Between albums the Rhode Island band saw itself from a trio reduced to a duo last year, the departure of original bassist Count Elric the Soothsayer unable to defuse the creativity and drive of the remaining pair of drummer Krolg, Slayer of Man and guitarist/vocalist The Wizard who also took over bass duties for the new album. Released via Metal Blade Records, Void Worship is distinctly heavier with a harsher attitude to its intensity than its predecessor but equally stretches and investigates a richer melodic and sonic endeavour across its colourful lyrical and musical narratives, all within hypnotic shadow clad sceneries.

The opening Intro is an immediately engaging and mischievous beckoning, the instrumental clad in a villainous character which is Pilgrim - Void Worshipcartoonish almost bordering pantomime but works perfectly within the dark hues of the piece. It’s coaxing flows straight into the instantly immense Master’s Chamber, riffs building walls of intensity within seconds and as quickly pierced by a probing and slightly concussive rhythmic enticement. Embracing its predecessor’s charisma into its lumbering gait and infectious intrigue the track prowls with a nefarious air and grace which is easy to instantly give submission to. The vocals of The Wizard are clean and similarly alluring, bringing a guiding light to the story and intimidating dark tones around him. It is a captivating ten minute entrance by the album, a potent experience which the release pushes deeper into thoughts and welcoming emotions with its next track.

The Paladin is soon swinging muscular hips to mesmeric guitar bred toxicity whilst the drums herd and cage the passions with a deliciously menacing revelry matched in stronger weight by hungry riffs. Veined by addiction crafting grooves and again strong vocal presentation, the track is prime Pilgrim; unfussy and direct but with plenty for varied keen ears, voracious imaginations, and passionate appetites to feast upon. The mouthwatering romp makes way for Arcane Sanctum, an instrumental crafted by singular guitar elegance within a melancholic ambience at first which slowly infuses oppressive sinews and broader stringed swipes across its emerging body. It is a track where the imagination is invited to cast and reveal its own twist of the album’s journey, beauty and menace in tandem for a skilfully imposing incitement.

A rawer caustic environment springs from the first breath of In the Presence of Evil, its rare air and abrasing touch dragging a rhythmic provocation across the senses to threaten and persuade like a predator of veteran prowess and knowledge in capturing its prey, which the song does with ease. Its thunderous steps come with a rhythmic swagger and sonic invention courted by searing flames as it engulfs the beleaguered and hungrily accepting imagination once more to push on the adventure.

The title track steps up next still immersing the listener in the cavernous dark reaches of the realm. A dirge bred oppression wraps ears with an almost funereal stance which is held at bay by the returning vocals whilst the weighty riffery and rhythmic bones of the track pin down the senses with a leviathan like intensity, stalking with every clawing stroke and punishing beat. It is an inescapable intrusion but one lifted by again vocals and the melodic acidity which permeates just as potently and expressively. The extensive encounter increases its suffocation the deeper into its soul you go entrapping all within its grasp for the following Dwarven March to unleash its similarly dramatic and laboured gait upon. There is a lighter glaze to the tone of the song’s sonic voice, the brief instrumental colouring the shadows before the closing encounter clouds the skies once again.

     Away from Here twists thoughts and emotions around its similarly evolving premise and doom drenched soundscape, ensuring the listener is given one final lingering testing to bask and lose oneself in. It powerfully concludes a tremendously sculpted and presented spellbinding of senses and emotions. It is an unrelenting merciless encounter but one which is not afraid to expose its melodic and seductive side within a ravenous and tempestuous intensity. Pilgrim is shaping a raw and undiluted aspect to modern doom metal with plenty to appeal to the widest hungriest appetites.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 02/04/2014

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Pilgrim – Misery Wizard

Dark, heavy and thoroughly imposing the debut album from US doom metal band Pilgrim is an immense beast with monstrous sonic claws that show no mercy once their undeniably epic and extremely satisfying grip has clasped around and into the senses. Riding the intense brutal form of “true doom metal” Pilgrim assault and bludgeon deep beyond the ear whilst pleasuring and igniting black deep emotions within. Their new album Misery Wizard is a colossus of black dirges, resonating ravenous riffs and blistering caustic melodies dragged from the pits of hell and sorcery.

Formed in 2010, the Rhode Island trio of Krolg, the Slayer of Man (drums), Count Elric the Soothsayer (bass) and The Wizard (guitars and vocals) openly take inspiration from the likes of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the weighty classic feel  soaking every pore of Pilgrim’s oppressive yet invigorating sound. As mentioned the album is brutal but without being openly destructive or violent, its slow drawn heavy mass enveloping every sense to wear away defences and consume whilst enflaming and instigating full unbridled pleasure. Pilgrim dominate through sonic persuasion and crushing drones, the lengthy passages and journeys of the tracks an experience that absorbs everything from ear and thought to the primal inside.

      Misery Wizard is unleashed via Metal Blade Records on February 14th and is in many ways a real example of a slow burner.  The initial listen finds the great positives that live and flourish within its dark long winding corridors but at first the slow grinding muscular ripples that drone across its bulk give up more the similarity between tracks that seem to pay homage to their open influences rather than use them as inspiration for something strikingly new.  That is at first for given numerous listens the album’s slow consuming intensity immerses one deeper and deeper into its depths to find oneself mesmerised and eagerly wanting more.

The tracks within Misery Wizard are boundlessly instinctive; their natural intense flows taking the listener down six epic travels that only once lie short of six minutes plus, the majority touching ten minutes or more. Often doom metal drags and lumbers at such lengths but with Pilgrim it feels the right evolution of a song, the music taking its time and only departing when it is finished not when told it should. The impressive eleven minute title track and the closing thirteen minute unsettling ventures of ‘Forsaken Man’ are the best and most fulfilling examples. On ‘Misery Wizard’ the band twists and turns eagerly and the track ebbs and flows all within the dense sound and it engages from first note to last despite its lengthy intent, whilst ‘Forsaken Man’ strikes with an initial sonic violation that brings heat and blood to the surface, the track being the one time that listening is somewhat uncomfortable but at the same time deeply hypnotic to ensure due attention and focus.

The equally hungry formidable songs of ‘Astaroth’, ‘Quest’, ‘Adventurer’, and the down-tuned majesty of the enthralling ‘Master of the Sky’ satisfyingly complete the album with equal power. Misery Wizard is an effortless listen, its uncompromising guitars, imposing riffs, slow mesmeric melodically strained vocals, and unrelenting smothering intensity combining to make a release that one cannot deny or want to refuse attention. It may not be the most original album in recent years but it is one of the most captivating and easily returnable to.

RingMaster 24/01/2012

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