Traditional doom is a loosely defined sub-subgenre1 of heavy metal that espouses the style of 70s/80s heavy metal bands, most prominently including influence from Black Sabbath, Candlemass, and Saint Vitus. Intelligible vocals play a prominent role as storyteller; singers eschew screams and growls for dramatic clean singing, with subject matter typically including fantasy elements or other dark materials that are less esoteric than black or death metal. Songs are often plodding, but neither as down-tuned nor as abrasive as variants blackened doom, stoner, and sludge metal; and typically forego the depressive atmospherics of funeral doom metal.
Since this hypergenre2 is completely rooted in the old-school and derived from other bands, traditional doom metal bands is – perhaps fairly – often accused of lacking inventiveness and creative spirit.3 Pilgrim’s sophomore release II: Void Worship is a watery emulation of doom metal’s agnate Iommi & Company. The two short instrumentals “Intro” and “Dwarven March” are respectively a chord arpeggio and a mindless chug, and the long main events “Master’s Chamber,” “Void Worship,” and “Away from Here” meander way too long for their own good, with “Void Worship” being the only saving grace by incorporating some of Pilgrim’s funeral doom traits that made debut album Misery Wizard a fun mix of funeral and traditional doom metal. “The Paladin,” “Arcane Sanctum,” and “In the Presence of Evil” are typical epic fantasy songs: not bad, but neither the atmospheric appeal nor the sheer presence of Black Sabbath’s debut. Pilgrim isn’t a poor band – as Misery Wizard certainly demonstrates – but II: Void Worship is disappointingly restrained.
1. Intro – (1:46) – ★★☆☆☆
2. Master’s Chamber – (10:35) – ★★☆☆☆
3. The Paladin – (4:08) – ★★★★☆
4. Arcane Sanctum – (4:10) – ★★★☆☆
5. In the Presence of Evil – (3:47) – ★★★☆☆
6. Void Worship – (8:51) – ★★★★☆
7. Dwarven March – (1:54) – ★☆☆☆☆
8. Away from Here – (9:39) – ★★☆☆☆
[UPDATE 26 April 2016: Changed the overall rating from two-and-a-half stars to two stars.]
2I’m gonna go ahead and coin it.
3Reverend Bizarre is a good foil to this argument. Recommended listen.