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Olde – Pilgrimage

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 01 March 2021, 2:41 PM

OLDE is a Canadian doom/sludge band formed in 2014. "Pilgrimage" is their third full length album. They also released an EP in 2016. "Pilgrimage" is one heavy album. And when I say heavy I mean getting hit by a freight train, body knocked into an adjacent building then said building falling on you. And the entire time your being beat in the face by a bag of bricks. But that is the power of the almighty riff. But it is also the power of song writing. The guitars aren't just big walls of sounds. Each one is played with passion and intricacy, making this very much a guitar focused album. Greg and Chris certainly know how to make their instruments work for them.

Of course what is a good doom/sludge album and huge riffs without bass? Cory supplies a devastating low end hammer, often times just as pulverizing as the guitars. Much of the band's dense sound of sludgy doom can be attributed to their vocalist Doug, but the most impressive aspect is how focused they are in their singular mission to bury us under their mountain of doom. There isn't any overly long songs, pointless interludes, crazy progressives post outros or symphony orchestra. This is just straight up balls to the wall doom. And it is great.

"Pilgrimage," begins with a blues influenced, thick as concrete riff. Ryan's drums pound the song further into your mind, each cymbal or snare hit turning that much more if your brain into dust. The band doesn't mind throwing in melody to accent the riffs but doing never lightens their sound. If anything, it helps stretch it out and adds in natural dynamics. Once the vocals arrive, the song just stalks its way through like a giant beast. One hell of an opener.

"Medico Della Peste," is surprisingly catchy with the gruff vocals and screams containing a ultimate head banging cadence. The bass is immersive, deep enough to hold this doom boat afloat.  The guitars in the songs mid section alternate between crushing and groove, never letting up but keeping up with the flow made from the drums. And that guitar solo! Wow! "The Dead Hand," is so dark and weighty that I'm surprised I was sucked into its void.  The vocals are the star here, brutal yet wary all at the same time. A saxophone makes a surprise guest appearance and how it leads into the guitar solo is really sick.

"Threatening Skies," is explosive due to the drums that drop like bombs and the bass that sets off a constant array of charges. The riffs dig in DEEP on this track, like an excavator that finally hit rock bottom and returned with the machine all mangled. The subtle use of melody, especially towards the end, made the song stick out in my mind and led me back for repeated listens. The final track, "Wastelands," is as unforgiving and harsh as its name. Slow, apocalyptic and dangerous…this is a song written by doom fans for doom fans. This one closes the album on a high note.

This album is a pleasant surprise early on in the year and I think it will have some staying power. As far as non extreme doom goes, it doesn't get much heavier than this.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Pilgrimage
2. A New King
3. Medico Della Peste
4. In Defiance
5. The Dead hand
6. Depth Charge
7. Under Threatening Skies
8. Wastelands
Cory McCallum – Bass
Ryan Aubid – Drums, Guitars (Additional)
Greg Dawson – Guitars
Chris Hughes – Guitars
Doug McLarty - Vocals
Record Label: Seeing Red Records


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