Reverend Bizarre In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend Review
Artist: Reverend Bizarre
Album: In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Doom Metal
Length: 74 minutes
Label(s): Sinister Figure, Low Frequency Records (2003 rerelease), Spikefarm Records (2004 rerelease)
01. Burn in Hell!
02. In the Rectory
03. The Hour of Death
04. Sodoma Sunrise
06. Cirith Ungol
In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend is the first full length album by Finnish doomsters Reverend Bizarre. They draw heavily from doom metal pioneers Candlemass and most of the songs you’ll hear are upwards of 10 minutes with the exceptions being Burn in Hell and Doomsower, the latter of which is followed up by Cirith Ungol, the 21 minute monolithic conclusion to In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend.
Reverend Bizarre have all of the hallmarks of the traditional doom metal sound; long songs with an atypical structure, sparse guitar plods, dramatic baritone singing, religious iconography and a guitar tone so thick that you can almost see it. Opener Burn in Hell has enough material to carry itself while establishing the consistent sound of Reverend Bizarre’s debut. Singer and bassist Sami Albert Hynninen (performing as Magister Albert) delivers one of the best lines of the album on this song, the spiteful “you bastards” that finishes the dirge.
Unfortunately by the time you get to The Hour of Death, you’ll find the songs start to lack variety and substance as Reverend Bizarre force themselves to drag out the slow, distorted passages beyond what most people would consider reasonable and it feels like they are doing it for the sake of it. Cirith Ungol embodies all of these negative traits despite having some tasteful throwbacks to Black Sabbath’s self-titled song and Iron Man.
Guitarist Kimi Karki (as Peter Vicar) and drummer Jari Pohjonen (as Earl of Void) kick the songs into gear between the guitar plods (as heard best on In the Rectory and Sodoma Sunrise) with some fantastic up-tempo guitar grooves, rapid drum fills and even an extended psychedelic guitar solo that will catch you off guard. The entirety of Doomsower is a curve ball in its own right. It is a brilliant hybrid of doom metal and stoner rock that is condensed into relatively short 5 minute blast. It shows exactly what the trio of Reverend Bizarre are capable of doing when they get straight to business without any of the filler material pointlessly jammed in there.
When Reverend Bizarre can be bothered to play with feeling they have some serious content to offer and if they followed this routine for the other songs it would have improve the experience tenfold. The dragged out passages don’t have the desired effect of building a foreboding atmosphere and will instead leave you cold after listening for long enough. While Reverend Bizarre have a genuine passion for creating doom metal, they prove to be too ambitious for themselves on In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend so sparing a few glowing moments, this is an album that should be reserved for doom metal fanatics.