Released: 2012, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Pilgrim is a Rhode Island based traditional doom trio currently in support of their full length debut, MISERY WIZARD. It’s a pretty no-frills, what you see is what you get kinda album, which in concept is a respectable idea, but in execution things fall begrudgingly shy of the mark.
I really wanted to like this disc more than I did. Superficially MISERY WIZARD seems like a recipe for success – band members with quirky pseudonyms like “Krolg Splinterfist,” familiar heavy riffs with an actual singer, and an abundant sense of fantasy in the tunes. It’s a likable approach that reflects on the genre’s less than serious origins, but style only gets a band so far. Point blank, the tunes just don’t have much substance to offer.
Pilgrim relies too much on resonating riffs and trudging power chords to create their musical atmosphere. Taken in digestible doses and with some variety interjected this isn’t a necessarily bad formula, but when it’s the foundation for most of the album and the tunes are reaaallly, reeeeallllyy long, it ends up sounding more tedious than anything else. Tracks like the opening “Astaroth,” “Adventurer” and portions of “Quest” show the band amping things up and cranking some solid riffs, but as good as those points are it just makes you wish that there were more of them.
Another sticking point is the vocals on the album. Vocalist “The Wizard” has an over the top wail which would seemingly compliment the dark and dreary musical backdrop, but the dude sounds like he’s standing three feet away from the microphone. Lyrically there’s some good stuff on MISERY WIZARD, but you miss most of it because you can’t hear what The Wizard is saying.
If anything, MISERY WIZARD plants the seed of what Pilgrim could be capable of on future releases. There’s hints of some really great ideas across the record, but they end up getting lost along the way.