Reverend Bizarre

Harbinger of Metal

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Picking up right where Saint Vitus and '80s-period Pentagram left off, Reverend Bizarre is a very welcome throwback within a genre that is itself defined by the throwback mentality. In fact, this may just be the most compelling reason to check out the Finnish trio's stellar second album, 2004's perfectly named Harbinger of Metal, which brings together seven tracks lasting a whopping 74 minutes! Like all vintage doom, protracted songs like "Strange Horizons" and "Dunkelheit" exceed the ten-minute mark, are performed at a painfully slow pace, and draw heavily from the writings of Crowley, Lovecraft, and others. But Reverend Bizarre's music comes off sounding surprisingly "clean," both in terms of guitar tones and the mostly musical delivery of singer/bassist Albert Witchfinder. He's no Messiah Marcolin, mind you, but in a style that demands a strong presence from its singers, he is more than up to the task at hand, even kicking into the occasional death/doom growl for portions of opener "Harbinger" and the positively cathartic "From the Void" -- a 20-minute colossus with plenty of room to house a five-minute drum solo (introduced by the hi-hat figure from "War Pigs," no less)! Not to be outdone (by much) the very next track, "The Wandering Jew," tapers off at a slim (ahem!) 18 minutes, all of them guaranteed to thrill experienced doom fans with riff after massive riff. Rarely are such lengthy tracks pulled off as effortlessly as by these impressive Fins, proving that Reverend Bizarre's preceding reputation was very well earned indeed.

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