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Reverend Bizarre : In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend

Even though it hasn't been out that long, Reverend Bizarre's debut, 'In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend' is certainly considered a must have album among many doom metal fans. This time around, the monolithic slab of doom has been remastered, and re-released, along with a bonus disc of material, most of which has been recorded specifically for this 2 disc set. Don't let the 'bonus' thing fool you though, as 'Return to the Rectory' could easily be an album proper.

Obviously, the focus of this review will be the bonus disc, but I would be amiss if I didn't say anything about 'In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend'. It does sound a little cleaner now, and certainly stronger. Personally, I didn't think it needed any added touches, but after listening to it again in its latest incarnation, I can't complain. All in all, a great slab of doom, that anyone calling themselves a 'doom metal fan' needs to own. I'm sure it's been said before though, so let's move on.

If 'Return to the Rectory' came out as an album on its own, I'm sure everyone would be praising it as another great slice of doom. The opening track, 'The March Of The War Elephants' (I do believe the title is a jab at the, shall we say, 'girth' of certain people who like to wear a lot of black, and a lot of makeup) starts off appropriately: slow, and crushing. Actually, this puts most funeral doom bands to shame... once again, Reverend Bizarre showing us that they can 'out doom' pretty much anyone they want to. The next song, 'The Festival' has an almost Simon And Garfunkel feel to it, what with the folkish acoustic guitar (I half expected Albert's vocals to come in at any moment, and start singing about 'Scarborough Fairs', and 'Sounds Of Silence'... and I certainly wasn't dissapointed when they almost did. The vocals are very peaceful, and relaxing here.) It's actually a pretty progressive sounding song, but at the same time, somehow earthy, and folk-like (but don't expect any hippie nonsense here, that would just be wrong).

For those who don't know, 'The Goddess Of Doom' (The third track here), is a song about the actress, Christina Ricci, what with the band being a fan of her work (and with her starring in movies like 'Sleepy Hollow', who can blame them... there's lots of doomy imagery to be found there, for sure). I must say though, it was strange to hear Albert rattle off doom bands later on in the song... but bravo for making them rhyme! Along with 'The Festival', the song, 'For You Who Walk In The Land Of The Shadows' certainly shows a mellower (yet in the case of this song, also more sinister) side of Reverend Bizarre. I'm somehow reminded of Candlemass' quieter moments... but it is a bit different here. Not so much epic, but somehow cold, and calculated... as if Reverend Bizarre are laying down the foundations for their juggernaut of doom. Indeed, they hit hard with it towards the latter parts of both songs.

Finally, after yet more crushing doom ('Dark Sorceress (Autumn Siege)', being one that sees some black metal style backing vocals... nice touch!), we come to the bonus video for 'Doom Over The World'. Though it does seem a bit like a 'space filler', it's a nice addition anyway. The song itself is certainly up-tempo, almost NWOBHM like. As for the video, it's pretty standard fare: shots of the band playing the song, then some shots of the band in a graveyard, but it's nice to be able to see Reverend Bizarre in action.

So, there it is: Almost two and a half hours of doom, across both discs. Even if you already own a copy of 'In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend', this album is worth getting... and if you still haven't heard it... then what are you waiting for? Go get this, and prepare to be doomed. I suppose, if I was one of those reviewers who needed to categorize everything, I would label Reverend Bizarre simply as: pure doom. No gothic wankery, no ambient nonsense... just doom, and lots of it. That's the way it should be. To end this review, I will only say this: Once again, the mighty Reverend Bizarre have planted their iron fist of doom straight on the jaw of the unbelievers... and you'll be hard pressed to get more metal than that. Doom on!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
CD 1: In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend'

1. Burn In Hell
2. In The Rectory
3. The Hour Of Death
4. Sodoma Sunrise
5. Doomsower
6. Cirith Ungol

CD 2: 'Return to the Rectory'

1. The March Of The War Elephants
2. The Festival
3. The Goddess Of Doom
4. Aleister
5. For You Who Walk In The Land Of The Shadows
6. Dark Sorceress (Autumn Siege)
7. The Warth Of The War Elephants

Multimedia track:
Doom Over The World (video)

Duration : Approx. 140 minutes

Visit the Reverend Bizarre bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Matt Zuchowski
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