Company: Metal Blade
Doom-laden musical vision
Despite this being their first full-length album, this uber-power trio from my home state of Rhode Island already appear to have made significant progress in carving a niche for themselves on the doom metal scene. For those of you enamored with all things slow, dark and ugly, it seems Pilgrim have got your number. Six song album, approaching an hour in length; none of it particularly subtle, soft or delicate; and much of it well under 100 beats per minute. You do the math.
Yes, it appears Pilgrim love their morbid sludge, and like I said, if you do too, this album is definitely for you. Those who have come close to wearing out albums by Pentagram, Cathedral, St. Vitus or even Trouble will find much to like here, even if little of it will be new to them. To my ears, the most obviously unique thing about Pilgrim (ironically) is the purity and consistency of their doom-laden musical vision. While the aforementioned bands would at least occasionally drift from their core sound, these amusingly named merchants of morbidity (vocalist/ guitarist "The Wizard," bassist "Count Elric the Soothsayer" and most impressively, drummer "Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer of Men") seem uninterested engaging in such diversions for any significant length of time.
Really, the purity of this stuff is pretty remarkable, yet for the most part, that purity does not come at the expense of musicality. The aforementioned Wizard's vocals are generally in the lower middle register pitch-wise, yet display enough range to carry the band's grand, often epic songs. Instrumentally, the band keeps it sludgy and loose enough to keep from sounding too polished, yet executed with enough skill to rise above the legions of doom and stoner acts who seem to rely solely on heft and sloth in the absence of solid musicianship.
The only complaint I have about this album is that, unless you are addicted to sludgy, epic doom, this much of the stuff this consistently in one sitting can be a bit much. (Although, to their credit, Pilgrim do give us one four-and-half-minute up-tempo respite in "Adventurer.") I have to admit, it actually took me awhile to get into the album because of this. But if you fall into that "doom addict" category, consider this at least a four-star album and, by all means, pick it up! Otherwise, consider this a promising debut--worthy of respect, quite enjoyable in measured doses, and definitely a band to keep an eye on in the coming years.