Listening through Pilgrims, the sophomore shredder from New Zealand’s Planet Of The Dead, is a fucking blessing. Conjuring up a vibe akin to the earliest Clutch material or, for local folks, Motherboar, Pilgrims is all the chunky riffage and monstrous vocals you’d ever need with nods and inspiration from some of the absolute best Horror and Sci-Fi flicks of all time to bring listeners an unbelievably unforgettable slab of molten Rawk!
“Gom Jabbar” is gnarly and rad and radical with steady Sludge slithering in like a giant sandworm topped with vox that tread a fine line between ghostly and gruff. This opening track immediately sets that Clutch/Motherboar tone and goes along a Mastodon path that flips the switch on the whole concept album vibe with the influences here putting Pilgrims more in line with the likes of that Atlanta quartet’s more looser records like The Hunter overall.
“Pilgrim” ushers in the Rawk with an anthemic little ditty that’s heavy on the GROOVE and just about everything else with a monstrous growl that works perfectly before slightly letting up for a Rob Zombie-like chorus while “Nostromo” is sinister and unholy, coming off like a soundtrack foreshadowing some grisly shenanigans involving Xenomorphs in the not-so-distant future. “The Sprawl” is moody and magical with ghoulish vocals before a massive crunch kicks in to bring listeners all the riffage, “Directive IV” takes its’, ahem, directive from Robocop on this steady stomper, and then “The Cursed Earth” gets its’ Judge on and infuses just the right amount of Dredd over a rollicking four and a half minutes.
In between all that, “Escape From Smith’s Grove” samples one of the lesser known music cues from John Carpenter’s Halloween which is still easily the most creepy cut of music to be found on that iconic score and later on, “The Great Wave” crushes all one final time meshing a laid back slow burn to start which collides into a furious rhythmic frenzy like the titular wave crashing into the shore with a devastating effect.