In the second article on THE PAST IS ALIVE, series George Chatzikostis re presents THE album that actually gave the kiss of life (or death?) to the Doom Metal genre. I can hardly remember or mention any debut -released after 2000- that offered such a big inspiration to fans, followers and enemies, both in a pure artistic but also in a sub cultural way, driving a genre on a total explosion. Under a "those were the days" mood I would let you to enjoy the latest THE PAST IS ALIVE manifesto.
REVEREND BIZARRE – In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend
Anno Domini 2002
- Burn In Hell
- In The Rectory
- Hour of Death
- Sodoma Sanrise
- Cirith Ungol
The Unholy Trinity
Magister Albert - preaching, low frequencies
Peter Vicar - slow burning behemoth riffage
Earl of Void – creeping death slowness
Indulge me and imagine for a moment: if defeat had a sound, how might that be?
Monolithic, dreamily creeping, unwilling to negotiate, crushing in its almost inhuman nature. It can leave a person cold, frigid and unable to move, contemplating life’s cruel, horrific treatment and its various shades of dark grey offered. It causes anger, boiling beneath the surface, giving very little room for release. What is release from anger needed for anyway? Will it serve any purpose? Catharsis, perhaps, though that hardly solves anything. But only for some fleeting moments. Then it returns to what it can offer. A lack of escape. Or at least, of an escaping according to one’s preference. Because Death and liberation awaits everyone at the end of this path. .
Hailing from the town of Lohja, located in the south region of Finland, three individuals, under the moniker of an entity known to the public as REVEREND BIZARRE, do their best to bring a sound, as described above, to life. Their chosen genre of music is known as Doom Metal, in the vernacular of the long and short haired followers of Heavy Metal music, which generally stands for slowed down variation of their chosen sonic Mistress. Not the most popular of subgenres, though to no fault of its own. Approaching it demands a specific mindset, since parts of what it offers is not for everyone, to put it bluntly. A music that can cause an overall feeling of misery and sorrow discourages individuals that seek excitement and Heavy Metal music full of life affirming energy. Such is its nature, and it needs not to apologize. Nor is an apology needed by those refusing the call that echoes through the halls.
Yes, the pace of the songs presented here is mammoth-slow, with little variety offered. Such diminished speed, borders on the unnatural, demanding a certain principle of discipline and goal driven simple mindedness. Bleak painted meditative transcendent soundscapes, doorways to planes of existence filled with pessimism. If you find yourself attracted to this dear listener, you are most welcome over here, the company may not be cheerful, but I have a feeling you won’t mind.
The REVEREND BIZARRE, fully self aware, acknowledges that what it is attempted here is essentially a continuation of the work of others, following footsteps firmly imprinted, both sound-wise and aesthetically speaking. There are obvious tributes, easy to spot for a knowledgeable and observing person, since the band’s photographs replicating postures from BLACK SABBATH and CATHEDRAL records of the past, Paranoid and Forest Of Equilibrium respectively, clearly showing where their allegiance’s lie. They also inform us of their status as members of the Circle Of True Doom, or C.O.T.D. for short, a sort of an unwritten pact between like-minded bands which took place about a decade or so ago, now mostly a memory in the minds of those who experienced it firsthand. The goal was to support and promote the Doom Metal music that was deemed to be True, simple as that. Noble as it may sound, taking such a stance usually reveals something rotten, once the surface is scratched. Reactionary condemnation of similar genres branded as The Other, based on failure to rigidly adhere to given rules and aesthetics, while not examining the music’s quality or lack thereof, is not something that I personally view as healthy. There is no higher authority passing judgment on whether a form of artistic expression is True or False, based on aesthetic values, with any detachment from those implying disciplinary repercussions. The creators of any art form owe The Truth only to themselves and to their artistic product, no one else. Or, at least that’s what they should. Such finger pointing social gaming is futile, since it is based on taste, which always varies per person, shaped by experiences and personality traits. Alliances take place with such a stance, and a lone metalhead might feel less lonely, once the gathering of people with similar mindset occurs, all together passing judgment on whatever they consider to be False, high-fiving each other on their way, virtually or not..
But enough semi-failed attempts at pop-social psychology! Despite the fact that I wholeheartedly disagree with such proclamations of any kind of True Metal, this is not the focus of this album, although I do consider it a driving force. Since its inception, Heavy Metal moved forward by reacting to factors both inside and out, and this a byproduct of such. To this day, this is my favorite offering by this Doomed Troika, sure to wipe out the smile from my face on nay given day. The two following albums were certainly charming, but have not managed to resonate this deeply into me. In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend has managed to pass the test of time, through multiple listening sessions, while I never could take my eyes away from what it has to offer. Disappointment, mourning, horror and, of course, anger.