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Reverend Bizarre Return to the Rectory Review

Reverend Bizarre Return to the Rectory Review

Artist: Reverend Bizarre
Album: Return to the Rectory
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Doom Metal
Released: 2004
Length: 66 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Spikefarm Records

Track List:

01. The March of the War Elephants
02. The Festival
03. The Goddess of Doom
04. Aleister
05. For You Who Walk in the Land of the Shadows
06. Dark Sorceress (Autumn Siege) (Barathrum Cover)
07. The Wrath of the War Elephants

Reverend Bizarre Return to the Rectory Cover

Return to the Rectory is the second EP by Reverend Bizarre. The title is an obvious throw back to their first album, In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend. At 66 minutes long it is hard to consider In the Rectory an EP by any stretch of the imagination. In either case the music follows the same format as In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend; atypical song structure, sparse guitar plods, dramatic baritone singing and a guitar tone so thick that you can almost see it.

This time around the longest song is 12 minutes and Reverend Bizarre have managed to throw in a couple of new tricks to try and keep their sound fresh. This includes a lengthy acoustic guitar intro to The Festival and more mid-paced parts which sometimes become genuinely fast. This is definitely a welcome addition to their sound.

The subdued keyboard sounds heard on In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend have been given a second chance on Return to the Rectory. While used sparingly, they do get stand out moments on For You Who Walk in the Land of the Shadows and The Wrath of the War Elephants. They work well to build up their foreboding atmosphere to make the songs stand apart that bit more.

Opening song The March of the War Elephants features the usual lengthy guitar drones and some excellent drum work that makes the song promising enough in its own right. The song suddenly bursts into a full on gallop and then rapidly fades out to leave you miffed. Reverend Bizarre might have spent time throwing in more variety but it doesn’t mean much when you forget to finish your opening song.

On the other hand there is strong continuity to be found elsewhere. The spares lyrics on The March of the War Elephants seem to follow into The Wrath of the War Elephants which then reprises elements of the music found in The Goddess of Doom.

The dramatic baritone voice still presides over most of the song but with more enunciation while their cover of Dark Sorceress (Autumn Siege) by Barathrum makes a U-turn by extensively using the vomiting voices found in black metal. The Goddess of Doom name drops several influential and current doom metal bands with Reverend Bizarre appointing actress Christina Ricci the title of The Goddess of Doom. This at least shows that there is a sense of humour mixed in with Reverend Bizarre’s prolonged agony.

When a band has all the ingredients for making great music it is hard to hear them miss the target if for nothing other than forgetting when to stop playing a song. Return to the Rectory shows a small expansion on their sound but it will most likely appeal to existing Reverend Bizarre fans before anyone else.

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Reverend Bizarre In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend Review

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
Released: 2002
Length: 74 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Sinister Figure, Low Frequency Records (2003 rerelease), Spikefarm Records (2004 rerelease)

Track List:

01. Burn in Hell!
02. In the Rectory
03. The Hour of Death
04. Sodoma Sunrise
05. Doomsower
06. Cirith Ungol

Reverend Bizarre In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend Cover

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.