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Doomed: Pilgrim’s Lethargic II: Void Worship

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Claiming that Coffinworm restored my faith in doom metal is a bit of an overstatement. But it’s really not as hyperbolic as it should be: I love IV.I.VIII front to back, and it’s got enough texture to reward repeat listening. I’d been really burnt out on the genre, and Coffinworm—though not straight-up doom—reminded me of everything I loved about it. So I started wondering what had me lose interest; was it overexposure during the post-metal craze or the easiness with which hipsters seemed to be able to embrace it? Then I heard Pilgrim’s latest and discovered it was neither. A lot of doom is just really fucking boring. There’s a fine line between milking a great moment for all it’s worth and wasting time. II: Void Worship seems content to pretend that line never existed.

II: Void Worship has all the pieces of a great stoner/sludge/drone doom record: killer tone, nonoffensive vocalist, blastbeat-averse drumming. But not once during the record’s runtime to those pieces become part of something excellent. Void Worship is an empty exercise in hazy amp worship; you know you’re listening to doom, but you might as well not be listening to anything. Any soul that went into making it is completely lost. The ascending riff that opens “Master’s Chamber” has some promise, but its ominous plod just segues into a regular old plod. At ten-and-a-half minutes, it borders on sadistic. The shorter songs that usher in the other longer ones on the record range from fine to pleasantly ignorable (trad metal-fused “The Paladin” manages not to offend but still doesn’t leave an impression). But Void Worship’s longer songs take up almost half of it, and whatever modest momentum that had been summoned is dragged to a halt. It’s hard making it more than three minutes into any of them without wondering what else you could be doing.

This isn’t to say that Pilgrim makes me want to give up on doom entirely; II: Void Worship isn’t that bad. But the lack of anything really good is its fatal flaw. The long stretches of time that “Master’s Chamber,” “Away from Here,” and the title suck up only make matters worse. In lieu of a slow pan across a desolate, panoramic view, the band evoke sitting next to a kind but talkative woman from central Ohio on a flight to Italy. She’s not doing anything wrong, but you just wish the damn plane would hurry up so you could get to where you’d rather be.

Pilgrim’s II: Void Worship comes out April 1 on Metal Blade. You can stream the entire album here and pre-order the album here.

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