Posts Tagged ‘Pilgrim’

I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!


Originally published here:

To truly understand a band like Pilgrim, I truly believe you need to be stoned. Like, Cheech and Chong stoned. Like Rob Ford stoned. Unfortunately I don’t partake in the Mary Jane, so maybe I’ll never know how good this band really are. For me, I try to understand a new record by a band by listening to where it fits with their previous material. With Pilgrim, to understand ‘II: Void Worship’, you need to listen to ‘Misery Wizard’. Don’t worry, I’ve got 55 minutes, carry on.

Done? Ok good. Now, how good was that record? How much did it remind you of classic doom like Electric Wizard, Cathedral and new heroes Pallbearer, but yet in an exciting and non-derivative fashion? Exactly. Pilgrim are one of those bands that can take the basic tenets of doom and meld them into something riveting. Slow, not plodding. Atmospheric, not ‘moody’. Thunderous, not heavy. Pilgrim are the aural equivalent of being steamrollered by the Magic Roundabout. ‘II: Void Worship’ has a lot to live to.

Thankfully, it does. After a suitably short intro, we are immediately thrust into the ten minute thunder of ‘Master’s Chamber’. Capturing the essence of Cathedral and Vitus in a matter of riffs is definitely a good way to start, and this lumbering beast of a track doesn’t disappoint. The more upbeat ‘Paladin’ is next, rocking a faster pace and a mighty psychedelic vocal delivery. It is a cracking tune, led by the hand by a seriously catchy main riff. Pilgrim lay down every song with the intent of becoming THE next icon in the doom world, and with ‘II: Void Worship’, they are putting their case forward with gusto.

Arcane Sanctum’ has one of those classic mournful doom intros, a slow guitar melody that lurks in the gloom, lost and searching. When the lurching riffs appear, the melody slots in perfectly and it takes on a new life. Pilgrim don’t do much at speed, but good doom was generally always slow anyway. ‘In The Presence of Evil’ has a relentless, seasick groove to it. It sways and grooves, and demands that thy head be nodded in approval. ‘Void Worship’ is like being dragged slowly, inexorably to your doom (pun intended), slipping, sliding with no hope of rescue into the void. It is cavernous, endless and glacially slow. It’s also fucking perfect. Pilgrim have arrived on the scene in time to pick up Cathedral’s mantle, and drag it onward.

Closing with the ponderous ‘Dwarven March’ and the titanic ‘Away From Here’, Pilgrim are doom’s new flagbearers. ‘II: Void Worship’ is the sound of the endless space, reaching up to drag us in. Utterly, magnificently essential.

I had the pleasure of interviewing The Wizard from Rhode Island’s heaviest sons, Pilgrim after reviewing their latest record, ‘Void Worship’. Originally published here at the Sleeping Shaman:


Where did the idea for Pilgrim come together?

I started Pilgrim back in 2011. The original concept of the band was to mix my worship of doom metal with my worship of fantasy games and role-playing. I always felt like the way fantasy was represented in metal was not exactly the way I thought it should be in my head. It started strictly as a recording project, but it quickly turned into a live band when I asked Krolg to play drums.

What is the doom scene in Rhode Island like, and is there anything specific about the state that led you to creating Pilgrim’s style?

There’s not too much doom metal in Rhode Island. There’s us and our friends in Balam and that’s about it, at least for the style of doom that we enjoy. The scene has grown quite a bit though. A doom metal show in Rhode Island is ALWAYS sold out, whether it’s in Providence or not. I’m quite pleased with the scene here now.

I’m not really sure that anything about Rhode Island has influenced our music. I didn’t even know that HP Lovecraft had anything to do with Rhode Island until I was a young adult. If Pilgrim was Rhode Island inspired, all the songs would probably be quahogs and sail boats.

‘Misery Wizard’ was very well regarded when it was released in 2012, did this create pressure for the second record?

There was massive pressure on ourselves to not fuck up the actual recording quality of the record. We were quite unhappy with how our sound came across on the first record and were HELLBENT on making sure that our new record was one of the heaviest things people ever heard in their lives. Krolg and I find the first record to be quite embarrassing now sonically. We can barely listen to it.

Many doom bands can share such similar traits and styles that a new band can become lost in the mix, no matter how good they are. Has it been difficult to ‘breakout’ and become a unique entity?

I don’t think so. Originality and uniqueness is something that we wholeheartedly represent as people. We absolutely loath unoriginal music. It’s such a waste in our eyes. There’s a difference between worship and utter unchecked plagiarism.

Did becoming a duo affect the recording process for the new record?

No. Although we credited Count Elric on bass guitar on the first record, he never actually played on it. I played bass for that record as well. So it was pretty much exactly the same experience tracking wise. The major differences were that we worked very closely and intently on the sonic quality of the record, something that we neglected horribly on the first one.

Onto ‘Void Worship’. There’s something inherently dark about it, an ominous vibe permeates each song. What were the main inspirations for it?

It’s simply our second record. There was no crazy concept or planned goal for this record (other than being heavy and awesome). It’s just a collection of songs, the next chapter in our musical pilgrimage. A lot of the material is actually old material from before Misery Wizard that I recorded, forgot about, and then rediscovered.

The lyrics themes are a bit private, but I think anyone with a keen mind can figure out what the songs are about if they listen closely enough.

Is there any band who inspire your style of playing more than others? I feel that you could be spiritual successors to Cathedral, you have the same eccentric, dragging groove that they had.

Thanks! I think a massive amount of initial inspiration for Pilgrim came from Sleep and Electric Wizard. Electric Wizard warped my fucking mind. That band changed who I am and who I will always be. Quite brutal. Eventually, the mighty Reverend Bizarre became my #1 inspiration as far as the style of doom that I loved. Slow, crawling, epic, expansive, but not cheesy.

You recently played with Mount Salem in Chicago, one of my own new favourite bands. Is there any bands you’ve toured with who you’d recommend people to check out, and is there anyone you’d like to share a stage with?

The best tour we ever did was with Windhand, but everyone knows who they are now! Some extremely excellent bands we’ve played with that I recommend are Druglord, Natur, Balam, Ice Dragon, The Wounded Kings, and Sinister Haze, just to name a few.

We’re really hoping to share the stage with Conan or Bongripper sometime soon.

If you could sell the idea, the concept of Pilgrim in one sentence, what would it be?

Fuck, I can’t. Something about heaviness and wizards, whatever.

Thanks for the interview and please use this space for any final words…

Take drugs, worship Satan, reject reality.