Without using Google to assist and therefore name this bizarre phenomena, everyone knows what happens with any kind of cable. Whether it’s a guitar lead, headphones or the plug for your blow up girlfriend, against the grace of all things holy that shit will tangle it self to death when no one is around to see it. This is actually relevant to MAKE. Pilgrimage Of Loathing is a lot like that. After the first few listens, this review was heading towards a pretty grim place – not grim in a positive light either. Like those headphones, over time the weaving of other elements contrived to paint this moody, riff heavy record into something infinitely more pleasing. Somethings really do just need time to breath and a second opinion.
Taking Pilgrimage Of Loathing as a genre album is the first big mistake that can be made. It’s not stoner, it’s not sludge, it’s at times barely even metal of any sort. Opening track “The Somnambulist” may trudge along like a smoked out Sabbath meltdown but it doesn’t totally appease the stoner riff lords. Instead, it paints swirls of black and post metal with a brush made of overdriven bass, everything else soaked in enough reverb to fill a cathedral. A gargantuan, gothic cathedral; one with pretty stained glass and a monolithic organ made of bone.
The reluctance to rely on one style crashes into prominence with a plethora of solid noise rock riffs and drum beats. Helmet might be the closest band that these moments draw inspiration from but the black metal vocals never let up. Even on standout track “Dirt”, with it’s knuckle dragging groove akin to Sleep, the croaking, masked vocals continue to dominate. the “stoner choir” that soars along side them makes for a fantastic sound but still the harsh side has a tonne more pulling power; the repeated line “do you feel it?” is a given. Yes, it is being felt, thank you very much. It just took a few attempts first.
And yes, it’s time to turn this around on a six pence and gripe at the record for the same reason it’s praises are being sung. This feels like a collection of songs rather than one cohesive piece of work. It’s cool that MAKE fuck with their sound between tracks but the hippy jam band from hell on “Two Hawks Fucking” sounds nothing like the beast that plows through “Human Garbage”. It’d be easy enough to conceive that those two tracks were being played by different acts entirely. There are a slew of ideas that don’t quite reach fruition on Pilgrimage Of Loathing and it’s this lack of gravitas and flow that made it such a slog to get through on the first listen.
This is not a love or hate record. It’s almost bang down the middle. The fuzzed out guitars, bass and washed over black metal vocals are awesome, there’s no denying that. The peaks of this record are outspoken, aggressive and epic, true. Just don’t expect to really find a vibe or a zen level of concentration that other bands like this can obtain. The wishy washy moments on this already splintered release take from the standout tracks. The riffs are strong, the sauce is weak. Give it another listen though, it might change enough to cut these words to ribbons. Who knows?
MAKE’s Piligimage Of Loathing gets…