Doom metal fans your attention please! Everybody else, who isn’t truly into that genre, should skip this review. Pilgrim address only to hardcore doom lovers. What they offer is old-school, heavy, slow, very slow doom metal, and you will need patience to listen to it. Take Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre and early Cathedral, put them all together and there you have “Misery Wizard”.
Pilgrim is a trio from Rhodes Island, the Wizard is responsible for the guitar and vocals, Count Elric, the Soothsayer is on bass and Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer of Man is on drums. They started in 2011 with a demo that drew little attention. But thankfully, Alan Averill of Primordial discovered them and decided to put out their debut album, through his label, Poison Tongue. After that the road opened for Pilgrim.
“Misery Wizard” reveals itself and all its bleakness through six tracks in 55 minutes. The opening notes of “Astaroth” make clear what Pilgrim’s intentions are. The music sucks all the light and you are left with a feeling of complete and utter despair, and this is the feeling that stays with you throughout the listening of this album. The first thing that you notice is the mighty rhythm section. The drum performance is exceptionally heavy and with each kick you sink deeper into the black pit. The bass lines are quite impressive, and the fact that the band is only a trio lets the bass be heard more clearly and loudly. The riffs of the Wizard are simple and repetitive, but catchy enough to stay in your head. The best thing about the Wizard, though, is his voice. Staying away from the typical growling that most doom bands attempt these days, his vocals are clean and sharp, very much like Messiah Marcolin's ones. On “Misery Wizard” the tempo drops even more and the atmosphere suffocates you. The “Quest” offers a little break, with a livelier bridge and solo around the middle. This break is much needed, as “Masters Of The Sky” follows relentlessly with 11 minutes of droning guitar-work and funereal arrangements. Again, “Adventurer” lets breath a little. Its groovy tempo makes this song the most easy to listen. “Forsaken Man” is the last song, and in the second half there are some incantations, closing the album in a quite epic way.
With this debut, Pilgrim surely gave us something to talk about. “Misery Wizard” is one fine doom metal album. The only minus could be the dynamics of the songs. If there was more diversity in tempo, it would be so much better, because as it is now, it can become tiresome at some places. But Pilgrim show that they are up for it, so I'll be looking forward to their next release.
Label: Metal Blade/Poison Tongue
The Wizard – Vocals, Guitar, Incantations
Count Elric, The Soothsayer – Bass
Krolg Splinterfist, Slayer Of Men – Drums