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Pilgrim Worship All That is Dark, Evil, Nerdy on ‘II: Void Worship’

SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: April 01, 2014
Label: Metal Blade

Pilgrim‘s only been on the doom metal scene for four years, but their music already sounds ancient: the soundtrack to a crumbling heathen monolith. II: Void Worship is steeped in mythical lore and stately, grandiose songwriting. Even more impressively, it’s the work of just two dudes, forceful drummer “Krolg Splinterfist, Destroyer of Men,” and “The Wizard,” who handles guitars, bass and vocals. As the pseudonyms suggest, Pilgrim are unabashed worshippers of all that is dark and nerdy, whether it be D&D, Lord of the Rings, or just evil itself — their last record was called Misery Wizard. On their second full-length, the Rhode Island outfit aims to restore traditional doom metal to its former glory, and dammit if they don’t just about succeed.

Pilgrim’s lyrics read like fantasy novels, and when The Wizard sings of sword and steel with his powerhouse voice, you want nothing more than to cast aside your worldly possessions and join the glorious quest. That epic quality infuses the proceedings with an eldritch atmosphere that begins with an oddball instrumental (“Intro”) and flows through the album’s 40-odd minutes of triumphantly heavy, classic doom riffs, which come dusted with specks of moody blues and ’70s prog. Huge, ominous dirges like “Master’s Chamber,” “Void Worship,” and mournful closer “Away From Home” are bookended by shorter forays like the slow-motion gallop of “The Paladin” and the gloomy chords of “Arcane Sanctum,” which sees Pilgrim break new atmospheric ground. II: Void Worship is more mature than its predecessor, and altogether bigger, brawnier, and better. The band continues to refine its unique guitar tone, which is fathoms deep here, smoky, dank and superb (think Candlemass by way of Dopesmoker). The Wizard’s voice soars like never before, and has gained nuance as he embraces different styles; quavering near-whispers and clear, high notes augment his standard robust warble. While the band itself might still be metal newcomers, their music goes down like an aged mead, and Void Worship is an early contender to be one of 2014’s most satisfying drams of doom.