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Dark, heavy, monstrous doom. That’s all you need to know about this lumbering beast of a debut from Pilgrim. Leaden and bludgeoning throughout and wielding more than their fair share of Iommi-distilled-through-countless-other-doom-bands riffs, Pilgrim deal in slow burning hulking bulks of doom that move along at the torpid pace of an aging elephant with many bags of heavy shopping, up a hill. A very steep hill. Against a high wind. In the snow. Punishingly slow, the protracted tracks are devilishly hypnotic, lulling the listener into dark and disturbing domains.

The lone guitar line that opens ‘Astaroth’ is both ominous and august that, when the drums crash in, becomes a cavernous, melodic groove, the wordless chants that sit astride the abyss carved out by the band enhancing the almost pious tone of the riff. Dragging the tempo ever deeper into the mire, the eleven minute title track is a dense, arduous mammoth of a track, the dirge spilling in to ‘Quest’, which, at around the four and a half minute mark, picks up the pace with a huge, chunky chugger of a relatively up-tempo riff that prepares the ground for an all-too-brief blazing solo before sinking back into the mud – methinks the beast must be tired after that burst of energy. At eleven minutes, ‘Masters Of The Sky’ is epic and unsettling, deliberately dragging through feedback-drenched riffs. With all of the tracks seemingly in competition with each other as to which can be the slowest, the album tends towards the tiresome with a number of the extended passages drawn out for far too long (yes, I know, that’s what doom is) as to detract from the full, earth-shattering impact that is established in the first two thirds of the songs. The (again, relatively) up-tempo ‘Adventurer’, then, appears at just the right time. Earthy, gritty in its groove and biting in its massively distorted riffs, it provides a new and, frankly, welcome dynamic to the album that makes the epic ‘Forsaken Man’ that much more impressive.

With a sound that is comprised of many an easily-identifiable doom band, Pilgrim’s debut may not be the most original of albums. But, like tectonic shifts that become devastating earthquakes, the tracks evolve from what feel like the most insignificant of disturbances into intense turbulence. Taken as a whole, ‘Misery Wizard’ is a pretty fair homage to all things dark, heavy and monstrous. Worth checking out…
Metal Blade
Review by Jason Guest
30th Jan 2012
1) Astaroth
2) Misery Wizard
3) Quest
4) Masters of the Sky
5) Adventurer
6) Forsaken Man
"Punishingly slow, the protracted tracks are devilishly hypnotic, lulling the listener into dark and disturbing domains."