By Dr. Abner Mality

OLDE is not exactly the kind of band name that gets hot blood pumping through my veins, but as the Bard says, what's in a name? Once I started digging into "Pilgrimage", I found out that these Canadian dudes play some massively heavy sludge doom metal. While not reaching the depths of true doom-death, OLDE is much thicker than typical SABBATH-based doom..

This is apparent from the grumbling chords that open up the title track. They've got the right guitar sound, a kind of sludgy heaving mass with thick bass frequencies. Yet there's an underlying blues feel to the rifferama that keeps OLDE in the realm of rock and roll instead of pure noise. It sounds real familiar and more than once I hear a riff that somebody else played in days of yore, but the band grooves and grinds along a ponderous track. The vocals also avoid death growls and go for more of an angry but clear feel.

Once in a while they will try for more of a weepy, melodic tone, like on "Under Threatening Skies", but they're at their best with pure sludge like "Medico Della Peste", "In Defiance" and the utterly punishing "Wasteland". A little bit of THE OBSESSED, a pinch of EYEHATEGOD, a dash of prime SLEEP and there you have the game plan of OLDE. This is one heavy piece of work.