NC’s MAKE show a fury-filled side yet to be revealed on third full length Pilgrimage Of Loathing. The slow-burn patiently builds and the atmospheric expanse of previous works has been replaced by anger for the state of the world as well as their home state’s government. To be clear, this album is a progression from their last and still has its quieter, reflective moments but they are fewer and farther between. With a wider range of genres displayed, the band’s exploration here pays off in a big way. It’s cerebral and takes time to digest, but is well worth it.
The one thread that has become a constant in MAKE’s repertoire is how they use cyclical rhythms and light, airy tones — post metal, if you must — to give a hopeful feeling to some of their most sludgy, nasty doom songs. But the quieter and more introspective tracks are the ones that take multiple spins to dissect and consequently add a huge weight to their albums. No matter what they do it sounds immense, from the Sumac meets Minsk approach on “Trephine” and the beautifully emotional “The Golden Veil”. And even on such a diverse cover as “Venus In Furs” the band is in top form, making the seemingly impossible task of truly owning such a huge song seem easy. With that said, the diversity on Pilgrimage Of Loathing should come as no surprise, but just as their last two were surprises that no one saw coming, this one is as well.
The title of this album is fitting and about as topical as it can be. When you think about the climate at the time of this recording and reflect on current events as recent as a few days ago, there is plenty in this world to loathe. And on “Human Garbage” this loathing hits a fever pitch, lashing out at their home state’s governor, and more broadly, politicians in general. Vitriolic screams and violently heavy riffs drive the point home. Earlier on “Birthed Into A Grave They Made For You” the lashing out comes in the form of angular and jagged noise rock.
“The Somnambulist” is a hulking beast of a track full of mammoth riffs and caustic vocals. The clean, sweeping guitar melodies that linger at the song’s center recall the enthralling “The Immortal” from their last release. And then “Two Hawks Fucking” shows up out of nowhere to remind us that no matter what direction the band go in or how genuinely pissed they are they can still make some damn beautiful music. It’s a lush, haunting landscape of light drum strokes and even lighter guitar work. It’s these kinds of polar opposites and contrasts that are the epitome of this band and what they’ve managed to pull off throughout this third outing is some of their best work. The first spin is massive and from the second on, the multiple layers open up and the album goes from great to excellent.
On Pilgrimage Of Loathing it’s obvious very early that MAKE are not happy with the world around them. But the outcome of this wariness and loathing is a rousing success as well as a cathartic necessity for these dark times. The new territory they explore is taken on with a focused passion and when they cover familiar ground it’s like a homecoming of sorts but better and more emotionally charged. They’ve created an album that while being immensely diverse and in some ways completely new to them, they still retain their identity and execute flawlessly. They’ve shown a darker side for sure but have hit a grand slam that has resonated deeply with me and given time it will do the same for you.