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Pilgrim - Misery Wizard Review

by Matt Hensch

Mourning and misery follow that which hovers over the bleak, foreboding atmosphere of this doom metal opus. Pilgrim hails from the United States and rightfully sounds like a spiritual successor to Finland's Reverend Bizarre and a variety of other doom lords preaching this forlorn gospel. The whole package lurking between "Misery Wizard" has all the expected conjurations usually hiding within one's grasp of doom metal goodness, with many searing textures boiling over the slow-roasted calamities of Pilgrim's nature. The group's effort, although generally not a massive creative leap in the sub-genre, feels good on the ears regardless; it's a dark and monolithic chapter of pure pain and gloom, pretty much reinforcing the strength of the word 'doom.'

Pilgrim includes just three members, but you'd think the shearing guitar tone and utterly crushing sound quality was the work of a thousand wretched souls crying in agony. The overall sound is pure doom metal, completely desolate and utterly brutal with an appropriate focus on riffs slowly crawling in a circular pattern of stellar repetitions and textures. Heavy bass and percussion sections are layered underneath the quaking guitar work, and each of the six sonnets leaves an individualistic presence on the listener with powers both emotional and metallic. Don't expect to be dazzled by its multitude of diversity; let its diabolical sequences take control of your soul instead. Their stance remains fresh throughout though, so there's no reason to fear the plague of redundancy.

The standout asset of the whole affair happens to be The Wizard’s vocal contributions. His style is certainly not unorthodox based on the various extensions of doom metal, yet the mournful, torn emotion pouring from his mouth is enough to make anyone understand the isolated journey of a broken soul, having lost everything and wandering on an aimless quest of a grueling nature. On the topic of vocals, the chants from "Forsaken Man" are equally haunting and riveting despite not having total control over the mammoth song; still a fantastic addition to a very nice conclusion. If I had to pick a golden moment, I'd definitely select the title track; The Wizard desperately howling, "Don't you torture me!" is certainly a highlight of "Misery Wizard," and it's good to know the song itself kicks tail for all eleven minutes.

Given the harrowing nature and its premium representation of classic doom metal done right, no sane man, woman, child, beast, witch, orc, or necromancer could rightfully look at "Misery Wizard" and gawk in disgust. Several bands have clearly dipped into the doom vault and left their mark, yet Pilgrims seems to have crafted a stronger presence than most based on their performances throughout "Misery Wizard." Obviously an essential grab for followers of Reverend Bizarre and other idols of the doom cult. In the end, Pilgrim is waving a flag that will never go down; bands may come and go, but doom will live on eternally.

Pilgrim - Misery Wizard


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