Up until a year or so ago I had never heard of Pylon. I wasn’t aware that they had released several albums and EP’s of crunching doom metal. I wasn’t aware they were from
Switzerland (the thriving metal
hotbed it is, Krokus is from there I believe). Quite simply I was out of the
proverbial loop! YIKES!!
After all there are only so many hours in a day and quite honestly, no one can know EVERYTHING; even if we try. So my friends as Roxx asked if I’d be interested in reviewing Pylon’s The Harrowing of Hell Deluxe Edition, in true reviewer fashion said gimme a minute to think about it… eh ok!
My own experience with doom metal was picking up Trouble’s second opus The Skull back in 86? Or was it 87? And wondered what just befell me. Then after hearing all the hoopla about Candlemass back in 88 or 89 I grabbed a sampler to their Nightfall album and the first track was At the Gallows End, WHOA! Very heavy and the vocals of Messiah Marcolin were just mystifying.
What is sort of ironic is that when I hear Pylon I sort of hear a mix of the music of Candlemass and some of the vibe of Trouble. Epic doom with the vibe of Traditional doom, strange I know but that’s what comes across to me. Pylon delivers strong song writing and the musicianship to pull it all together.
The Harrowing of Hell is one heavy duty album. Whether I pull up The Stream of Forgetfulness with its plodding and sludgy rhythm section or the organ filled Returnal Etern the vibe and atmosphere are here, inviting you to start swaying your shaggy mane to the slow sledge hammer rhythm. You won’t find neat and catchy verse chorus arrangements but you will find strong songs.
Tracks Psalm 139 A & Psalm 139 B is perhaps the most immediately accessible here, but don’t let that dissuade you. The chugging of doom moves this release along.
This album is like most exceptional art, it must be savored to be enjoyed. Don’t allow the lack of the immediate hook put you off from investigating this release further. Sure it might not be everyone’s cup of tea however this might be an excellent way to get ‘into’ the doom caravan. Being somewhat specific this release is an exceptional collection of EPIC doom metal.
The Harrowing was originally released on vinyl only in a limited run of 300 copies. Roxx has done something very special by getting two new additional tracks, not previously released Lines & Golden Voice which brings the track total to 9. However there is more if you are lucky enough to get in early there is a TWO disc issue which features a compilation of tracks from the first three Pylon releases, which as I understand it are very difficult to obtain. Honestly after listening to this bonus disc I almost like the bonus disc MORE than the new album!!
Definitely grab this album. Special guests include Ian Arkley (My Silent Wake), Jordan Cutajar of Nomad Son contributes lead vocals on three tracks, Reno Meier of Sin Starlett delivers some tasty lead work, and David Vollenweider and Vale Baumgartner also offer some quality lead work.
By the way that bonus disc I mentioned also features a re-mix of Pylon’s Falling into the Sun which sounds very nice. Pylon’s The Harrowing of Hell is a gut pounding heavy metal beast of an album. Solid epic doom metal in the vein of Candlemass. Keep the lights low and prepare for a sonic implosion.