There’s a lot of meat to dig into on Pilgrimage, the new album from Canadian sludge practitioners Olde. Their third album, Pilgrimage, finds the balance between all-out, crushing heaviness and catchy, bright melodies.
The album starts off with the title track, which looks to bands like Isis for its sense of scope; the track is spacious and each note is given time to breathe, but it isn’t soft or post-rock. The title track sets the tone for the album, building toward the centerpiece, fourth track “In Defiance.” The twin guitars deliver rumbling stoner metal alongside mournful melodies and shimmering clean sections, while vocalist Doug McLarty sings honest, emotional lyrics.
By the end of album closer “Wastelands,” the members of Old sound like they have reached their limit, putting everything into the eight tracks included on Pilgrimage.
“Fittingly, Pilgrimage was quite a journey for Olde as a band,” the band tells Decibel. “Even pre-pandemic, due to drastic geographical realignments, we had to completely redetermine how to continue to function as band, and decide if we could even carry on making music together. Ultimately, we decided to stay dedicated in trying to make the best record we could. And that’s what we believe this record is; our best.
“We have tried to marry the relentless urgency and heaviness that we’ve delivered in the past with more melody, more precision and more ambience. We were confident that we could push ourselves and hone in more on emotion and dynamics without sacrificing our preferred heft or turning our backs on the power of the almighty riff. Our attention to detail in all matters regarding songwriting, performance and production were thereby cranked up several notches, and this record came to be.
“We are pleased and proud to be working with Seeing Red and Sludgelord Records, two labels tirelessly dedicated to putting out fresh and heavy sounds. Sharing in the joy and excitement of releasing new music with these crews has been a privilege. Hopefully, in these days of great uncertainty, fear and emotion, the listener can dive into our world, a world of pain and healing, hatred and hope, and find some solace, a sanctuary or, at the very least, a strong desire to stand up and crush something.”