Friday 23 July 2021

Planet Of The Dead - Pilgrims (Album Review)

Release Date: July 23rd 2021. Record Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Pilgrims -  Tracklisting

1.Gom Jabbar 04:22

2.Pilgrim 05:03

3.Nostromo 04:12

4.The Sprawl 06:06

5.Escape from Smith's Grove 03:47

6.Directive IV 03:38

7.The Cursed Earth 04:35

8.The Great Wave 06:32


Mark Mundell - vocals

Malcolm McKenzie - guitar

Kees Hengst - bass

Josh Hussey - drums


New Zealand Cosmic Sludge Metallers Planet Of The Dead are back with their 2nd full length album Pilgrims and it’s equally as groove-laden as their celebrated debut album. Their description on BandCamp describes their music down to a fine art - “For fans of classic science fiction and supermassive riffs.”

Pilgrims follows a similar journey from Fear Of A Dead Planet with the band playing heavy Sludge/Stoner Metal sounds with a Sci-Fi Theme with some Horror vibes along the way. Whilst their debut was a slightly heavier affair, the band have reigned the heavy violent sounds just a bit on this release. However, this works in the band’s favour with Planet Of The Dead bringing a more “Riff-Centric” or “Riffier” style of music on this release and still leaving their Sludge/Stoner Metal credentials in check.

The first two opening songs - Gom Jabbar and Pilgrim - are some are strongest parts of the album with the band moving firmly into a Progressive style of Sludge/Stoner Metal with Mark’s vocals bringing a street-level style of Sludge growls and offset that against the fantastical Sci-Fi inspired lyrics and Planet Of The Dead have a recipe for success here. When the track Pilgrim appears, the band switch their blend of Spaced Out Rock to Intergalactic Fuzz with Mark not getting that message and playing his own violent blend of addictive growls. There’s excellent Fuzz/Guitar Reverb coming from all corners and lets the guys play fantastic guitar solos.

With an album having such diverse themes from Science Fiction works such as Slaughterhouse 5, Alien Film Franchise and Robocop throughout different parts of the album. This is very much a band who pick a mixture of important and not-so-important themes and remember to have fun along the way.

The music is the real “STAR” here with the different styles of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal and the band offering a gritty and trippier style of music especially on songs such as: Nostromo and The Sprawl.

The second half of the album is perhaps more creative with the brilliantly RoboCop inspired Directive IV and that leads into my other favourite part of the album, the final two songs - The Cursed Earth and The Great Wave.

This album could have easily been a big Psychedelic and Noisy mess with the many different themes and musical ideas that Planet Of The Dead have used for Pilgrims. However, this is indeed a “SUPERMASSIVE” album and I was left grinning “EAR-TO-FUCKING-EAR” whilst listening to this.

Planet Of The Dead are helped once again behind the scenes by James Goldsmith on Production Duties and the always fantastic Brad Boatright on mastering duties. James knows a thing or two working with Cosmic Sludge/Stoner Metal bands. As he’s worked with New Zealand famous riffsters BEASTWARS multiple times and I feel Planet Of The Dead will soon achieve the same type of recognition within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community in no time at all. Especially if they keep releasing more exciting albums such as Pilgrims.

Pilgrims is an unmissable and superbly heavy record on all fronts that everyone should check out. 

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Viral Propaganda for the promo. 

Pilgrims is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl


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