Misery Wizard (Metal Blade)
By Mike Delano
Rhode Island crew Pilgrim specialize in slow-as-molasses doom, the kind that sounds downright lethargic at times. Sure, opener “Astaroth” busts out the Sabbath riff worship straight away, but the boys from Birmingham make music that sounds like rainbows and kitten burps compared to the slow-motion black cloud that will consume listeners of Misery Wizard. After the subdued swagger of that song’s slow-mo stomp, the remainder of the album’s drones and buzzes weigh so heavily that they feel like a medicine ball slowly burrowing into your chest cavity. That type of soul-crushing doom is well executed here, but the album is oddly inconsistent when taken as a whole. While the vast majority of Misery Wizard is the aforementioned ten-ton drone hammer, the band throws in a mega guitar solo halfway through the 10 minutes of “Quest” and slips in “Adventurer,” a galloping track that wouldn’t sound out of place on a High on Fire record. Both of those brief anomalies work very well, but don’t tie into the rest of the album at all, disrupting the otherwise bleak tone in an almost flippant manner. It leads one to wonder, though, what other surprises are waiting to peek out from Pilgrim’s doom cathedral?