Album Review – Olde / Pilgrimage (2021)

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, one of the most hardworking bands of the Canadian scene returns with another round of their acid Doom Metal in their third full-length album.

Patiently awaiting for their next victim on the darkest corners of Malton, a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, located to the northwest of Toronto, the unrelenting Doom Metal entity known as Olde is back in action after four long years with their third full-length opus, entitled Pilgrimage, following up on the heaviness, aggression and madness of their 2017 album Temple. Written, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by Olde, with all production and mastering being done by the band’s own guitarist Greg Dawson at BWC Studios in Kingston, Ontario, displaying an apocalyptic artwork by Alexandre Goulet, and featuring guests Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (of Voivod) and Nichol S. Robertson on the guitars and Nick Teehan on saxophone, Pilgrimage will smash your cranial skull mercilessly, showcasing all the passion for doom by vocalist Doug McLarty, guitarists Chris Hughes and Greg Dawson, bassist Cory McCallum and drummer Ryan Aubin.

Arising from the underworld like a demonic beast, the sluggish beats by Ryan dictate the pace in the massive title-track Pilgrimage, with Chris and Greg extracting sheer obscurity from their axes while Doug delivers his usual roars for our total delight, whereas accelerating their pace like a behemoth of doom, Cory’s rumbling, low-tuned bass will pierce your soul in A New King, while the guitars by Chris and Greg exhale dementia and darkness from start to finish in a great display of Sludge and Doom Metal. Then we have Medico Della Peste, an awesome creation by those five talented Canadians bringing to our ears everything we love in Doom and Stoner Metal, including slow and steady beats, dirty riffs, soulful solos and the trademark raspy vocals by Doug; and the sharp but very delicate sound of their guitars is a thing of beauty in the atmospheric In Defiance, with Cory and Ryan generating a sinister wall of sounds with their bass jabs and classic drums, sounding perfect for breaking your neck headbanging.

More of the band’s classic Doom Metal is offered to our avid ears in The Dead Hand, once again dragging us down to the underworld, showcasing wicked lyrics barked by Doug while his bandmates make sure every single space in the air is filled with insanity, not to mention the sick sax solo by guest Nick Teehan. Then the tribal drums by Ryan ignite the damned feast entitled Depth Charge, tailored for admirers of the genre, bringing forward a violent yet melodic guitar solo to enhance our senses and with Doug once again leading his demented horde with his deep voice. In Under Threatening Skies we’re treated to over six minutes of first-class Canadian doom spearheaded by the visceral riffage by Chris and Greg together with the thunderous bass by Cory, resulting in an awesome composition that lives up to the legacy of old school Doom Metal; whereas raw riffs and slow, primeval beats kick off the closing tune Wastelands, where a menacing sonority flows slowly and majestically until the very end with Doug once again screaming in anger and pain, putting a vintage ending to the album.

After all is said and done, you’ll be more than tempted to succumb to the most doomed side of music together with Olde, with Pilgrimage representing another awesome step in their already solid career. Hence, don’t forget to follow those Canadian metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their damned catalogue on Spotify, and to put your dirty hands on a copy of Pilgrimage by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from the Sludgelord Records’ BandCamp page or from the Seeing Red Records’ webstore. Let’s all walk together with Olde on their journey of doom to the sound of their newborn spawn, showing the entire world that whenever their music sounds as heavy, grim, unfriendly and sluggish as it can be, that means it’s mission accomplished for such hardworking band of doom from the Great White North .

Best moments of the album: A New King, Medico Della Peste and Under Threatening Skies.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Sludgelord Records/Seeing Red Records

Track listing
1. Pilgrimage 5:03
2. A New King 5:20
3. Medico Della Peste 4:05
4. In Defiance 6:44
5. The Dead Hand 5:11
6. Depth Charge 3:47
7. Under Threatening Skies 6:08
8. Wastelands 5:44

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solos

Guest musicians
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – guitars
Nichol S. Robertson – guitars
Nick Teehan – saxophone

Album Review – Olde / Temple (2017)

Putting society and personality in its crosshairs, attacking the traits that make people hide behind various masks in order to survive, here comes a Canadian Doom Metal brigade ready to crush our skulls with their heavy-as-hell new album.

Inspired by a recording session with long-time Stoner Metal stalwarts Sons of Otis, guitarist and producer Greg Dawson (Cunter, Grift, BWC Studios) began to handpick and assemble Canadian Doom/Stoner Metal brigade Olde, emphasizing a powerful and economic approach to doom music. Enlisting the help of drummer Ryan Aubin (Sons of Otis), bassist Cory McCallum (Five Knuckle Chuckle), guitarist Chris “Hippy” Hughes (Moneen) and vocalist Doug McLarty (Jaww), this Malton-based band began to take form, releasing their debut full-length album simply titled I, in 2014, followed by the EP Shallow Graves, in 2016.

Always true to their heavy, bludgeoning roots, Olde are back in 2017 with a brand new full-length instalment, the pungent and resonant Temple, an album where Olde put society and personality in its crosshairs, attacking the traits that make people hide behind various masks in order to survive, and how the ranks of the disguised, with their ulterior motives, aren’t exacting worried about the average Joe in their quest for self-preservation and “progress”. Olde’s sound has also grown since the band’s inception, encompassing more abstraction and harmony, whilst never forgetting to bludgeon their fans, as needed, with riff after riff, driven by the sophisticated-caveman drums of Aubin and the harsh, yet always clear, vocals of lyricist McLarty. Featuring an eye-catching artwork by Joshua Wilkinson, Temple will undoubtedly punch you in the face with all its doomed strength, like it or not.

Heavy, sluggish and thunderous from the very first second thanks to the amazing stringed trio comprised of Chris, Greg and Cory, the opening track Subterfuge is an excellent Doom and Stoner Metal composition, bringing the best elements of both genres to our avid ears, but it’s when Doug begins vociferating the lyrics that things get really dark and serious (“The blood you seek is out there, / On the frayed edges of town / Just point your boots, and follow… / Your rotten heart”). Ryan kicks off the following tune, the obscure Now I See You, with his pounding, damned beats, before Doug offers more of his grumpy and raspy vocals perfect for the music being played. Furthermore, I love when it’s possible to listen to those metallic bass punches like the ones blasted by Cory due to the album’s crisp production, but of course without losing the band’s amazing rawness. Also, if I were you, I would check Olde playing this excellent song at the NP music studio for the National Post Sessions, in order to fully enjoy the band’s catchy sonority and refined technique.

The Ghost Narrative is an excellent depiction of the most sluggish and deranged form of Stoner Metal, where Chris and Greg are kicking ass on guitars with their riffs and solos in an overdose of heaviness flowing from all instruments, which is also present in Doug’s enraged vocals; followed by the title-track Temple, the longest of all songs, starting in a somber manner through the bass sounds crafted by Cory and quickly morphing into a neck-breaking Sludge and Stoner Metal hymn. Its hostile sounding, led by the beats by Ryan, only gets more belligerent when joined by the vocals by Doug, hitting you hard and mercilessly until its dark ending. And increasing their aggressiveness and speed, Centrifugal Disaster presents modern and poetic lyrics (“The world heaves under the weight of our existence / A population siphoned from, stretched beyond all reason / Exploit everything for a fraction of what it’s worth / Rallying cry of modern Man: / Give me convenience, or give me Death”), piercing guitars and rumbling bass lines boosted by the intricate drumming by Ryan, culminating in a Stoner Metal extravaganza highly recommended for fans of the genre.

Bringing hints of Southern Rock and old school Rock N’ Roll, Maelstrom reminds me of some of the classic tunes by Down, with highlights to the excellent job done once again by Chris and Greg on guitars. Put differently, this is a song perfect for enjoying a cold beer and banging your head vigorously together with the band, presenting an excellent guitar solo at the end as the icing on the cake. And lastly, closing the album Olde brings forward an ode to darkness titled Castaway, reaching deep into our most deviant thoughts. This low-tuned and slow composition is led by the potent drumming by Ryan and the rabid, deep growls by Doug, while the rest of the band makes sure the atmosphere remains as cold-hearted, gloomy and unhappy as possible.

You can always keep up to date with everything Olde are doing, including their tour dates (especially if you live in the Greater Toronto Area), by following them on Facebook, and purchase your copy of Temple through their BandCamp page, the STB Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, or the Medusa Crush Recordings’ BandCamp page. Temple is not only a top-notch album of Stoner and Doom Metal made in Canada, but it also cements Olde’s name in the Canadian independent scene, opening the doors for the band to reach new heights and to properly explore new markets in a not-so-distant future, like the United States and the UK, where their music style is extremely appreciated. And, of course, to support Olde in their mission to crush everyone’s head with their heavy-as-hell damned music wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Subterfuge, Now I See You and Centrifugal Disaster.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 STB Records/Medusa Crush Recordings

Track listing
1. Subterfuge 4:06
2. Now I See You 4:27
3. The Ghost Narrative 4:17
4. Temple 7:48
5. Centrifugal Disaster 5:04
6. Maelstrom 6:16
7. Castaway 7:05

Band members
Doug McLarty – vocals
Chris Hughes – guitars
Greg Dawson – guitars
Cory McCallum – bass
Ryan Aubin – drums, guitar solo on “Maelstrom”

Guest musician
Simon Talevski – guitar solo on “Castaway”