Misery Wizard, the 2012 debut from Pilgrim, the Rhode Island trio, featured the kind of drawn-out, depressing doom that trod the same path as Reverend Bizarre. And while I’m not sure if they’re confessing their love of the bizarre reverend in the album title (RB’s drummer was known as Earl of Void), I’m expecting some more of the same this time around.
Following a brief intro, “Master’s Chamber” walks on similar ground, a 10-and-a-half-minute epic that goes nowhere fast. There’s definitely traces of Sabbath in some of these riffs, but not more so than most doom bands. Orordruin or Pallbearer would be a more apt comparison; perhaps some combination of the two. But in contrast to their first album, they break up the monotony with a trio of shorter, faster-paced tunes. “The Paladin” sounds similar to some of the more up-tempo tunes in The Gates of Slumber’s catalogue, while “In the Process of Evil” has a somewhat lighter, if not less menacing, touch. Sandwiched in between is four-minute instrumental Arcane Sanctum, more atmospheric than rifferific, but still undoubtedly doomy.
After that detour, the title track gets back down to the low ‘n slow, nearly nine minutes of sludged-out Reverend Bizarre worship…but again, with a lighter, less crunchy taste, some airy notes interspersed amongst the stop-start riffage. All told, I’m digging the more mature direction on this one over the debut.