Released: 2014, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Helias Papadopoulos
Drummer “Krolg, Slayer of Man” and singer, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist "The Wizard" have harnessed and immaculately balanced their chemistry as a duo after the loss of their bassist, Count Elric. Currently, as a power and heavier-than-hell duo, Pilgrim just released their sophomore album, II: VOID WORSHIP after the awesome and sonically incredible MISERY WIZARD (2012). This is the album that they throw their own twist of dark, mysterious doom into their summonings, Pilgrim systematically pull listeners into their sinister realm of sound; their lyrical imagery serving as a ride all its own.
II: VOID WORSHIP is a chaotic-psychedelic and heavier than all-doom metal album that will take the metal world by storm, with a touch of throwback to 70’s rock and occult and the doom that only Candlemass have delivered, Pilgrim bring the occult- psychedelic doom to the fore, popularizing the genre that has been brewing underground over the years once more (see Cadlemass, Electric Wizard, Cathedral, Coven, Witchcraft, Witchfynde and all of them filtered in a heavier doom metal still.)
This album is monolithic and rooted in traditional doom metal. The album feels like it's trapped in the nightmarish head-space of a psychic medium on a bad trip. II: VOID WORSHIP is possessed by such a rich and affirming personality that you’ll be able to feel it ringing out in every thick, distorted power chord and ever emotive wail that escapes vocalist/guitarist The Wizard’s mouth. Pilgrim is primarily inspired by early-career Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Cathedral and Candlemass and all the 70’s occult rock bands so it’s no surprise there is a very heavy, classic metal tone throughout the album.
You do not want to pass this one up. Pilgrim have managed to set themselves apart with well-written songs, haunting vocals, killer riffs, and the right type of mood that is essential for crafting memorable psychedelic and heavy doom metal. I think The Wizard’s voice is deeper and more hellish than in their debut album, the band is more tight as a duo and that is obvious by the songwriting and the feeling that came out of the songs. Listen to “The Paladin”, “Master’s Chamber” and “Void Worship” and you will understand exactly what I mean.
After a brief atmospheric guitar-driven intro (the riff in 0:35 is “Black Sabbath” track’s main guitar riff, so Pilgrim pay their own tribute in the very beginning of the album), the album launches into “Master’s Chamber” (the first anti-hit, sorry dudes, the album is full of anti-hits!), which has a stronger classic doom metal feel to it. The Wizard shows off a few Black Sabbath-esque fills to compliment the lumbering riffs, and Krolg frequently harmonizes with himself to create an eerie vibe with his notorious and sick drumming style. The following track, “The Paladin” is a short (almost five minutes) track, I say this because Pilgrim are used to write long songs. Several people would say that this is the catchiest and ‘hit’ song. I could agree with them. It’s a wonderful track, not so doom as the other ones, but heavy rock with the well-known occult touch of the mighty bands I said before. The same occult touch Ghost have put into their own masterpiece INFESTISSUMAM.
Pilgrim did a record with a nice touch of variety and different delicious musical tastes. Overall, II: VOID WORSHIP is an album that does what a doom metal record is supposed to do: use moodiness and a strong atmospheric sense to create a feeling of oppression and depression as opposed to the approach many extreme metal bands take in which they try to bludgeon the listener with a wall of noise for heaviness. It’s an album full of moments of thundering and crushing brilliance from the first second to the last.