Review Summary: Extraordinarily simple and monotonous, Reverend Bizarre’s final album is a chore to listen to.
Reverend Bizarre are somewhat an anomaly in doom metal. Their music is epic, traditional doom, generally based around incredibly long songs, and very well liked. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad thing said about them. It’s true that the idea behind the band is awesome; crushingly huge riffs, getting your money’s worth in terms of playing time, and being rather easy music to get in to. Credit has to be given where it is due, and the band certainly have made a name for themselves. However, upon my first listen of the band, which happened to be their final album III: So Long Suckers
, I was duly unimpressed.
To say the band’s music is simple is an understatement. Sure, it’s doom metal, technicality is not expected, but Reverend Bizarre simplify things to the extent that it becomes terribly monotonous. Then to rub salt into the wounds, the songs are incredibly bloated. III: So Long Suckers
has two songs at 25 minutes, and another at 29, with another three over 10 minutes. Length by itself is by no means an issue; it’s the fact that the band’s music is overly simple and repetitive, coupled with the horrendously long songs, which makes this album so dull.
Adding further injury, repetition runs rampant throughout the album’s 2 hour length. The recycling of riffs is so blatantly obvious, that I’m at a loss to understand why it doesn’t bother anyone else. Any riff that has a somewhat fast tempo sounds exactly the same, and you can be sure that Reverend Bizarre are going to play it for as long as possible. For example, the album’s opener ‘They Used Dark Forces/Teutonic Witch’ begins slowly and incorporates a couple of miniscule changes into the same riff while gradually upping the tempo, for close to 8 minutes. The main part of this riff sounds, in fact, exactly like the main riff of Wolfmother’s ‘Woman’, for those who know the band/song. Don’t think that I’m accusing the band of anything; I’d hardly think Reverend Bizarre had even heard of Wolfmother, but have a listen and you’ll be surprised at how similar they are. Furthermore, this very riff, or at least a variation of it, was most definitely used again elsewhere in the album. In other words, all the songs sound terribly alike, and after listening to the colossal first track, you’ve pretty much heard everything the album has to offer. Had the songs given us a small slathering of heavy riffs, and then perhaps refrained from playing out these same riffs for 5+ minutes, it would keep listeners coming back for more, but this is not the case. One song is enough Reverend Bizarre to last you a long while. The only positive side to the structure of the album is probably that it is good for when you’re doing something else, such as playing videogames or studying, when you can zone in and out of the music at your will. Otherwise, III: So Long Suckers
is a dry and flavorless album to listen to.
Now, the album is not completely bad. One thing that particularly stood out was the prominence of the bass, as well as the fact that it’s not simply there to complement the guitars; it’s utilized as an actual instrument, taking the lead in several instances. More than once the bass would be off doodling away while the guitars would either be absent or playing a slower riff, complementing the bass. The reason for this may be because vocalist Sir Albert Witchfinder (Sami Hynninen), who is perhaps the band ‘leader’ if you will, also plays the bass, hence the emphasis on the instrument. It’s always nice to hear the bass coming alive, but unfortunately such moments are still very spread out. In regard to Witchfinder’s vocals, he’s a very mixed bag. He’s by no means a poor vocalist, but he definitely is not the most talented, even within the genre of doom. His voice suits the band’s style of music, and feels ‘right’. Unfortunately there aren’t all too many variations in his voice, contributing to the dullness of the album. I’ll admit I was impressed several times, such as when Witchfinder held a note for a long period and another instance when he turned a wail into a coarse scream. The locations of both and others like it are lost to me in the length of the songs, but they’re in there somewhere.
The popularity of Reverend Bizarre within doom circles undoubtedly led me to have higher expectations than I should have when coming into this album, but this still does not detract from the glaring faults that plague III:So Long Suckers
. The album is not necessarily bad, and I quite like the idea behind it, but it’s just so relentlessly tedious and drawn out that I found it hard to derive too much pleasure from it. If this album was the first track alone, I’d be at the front with everyone else screaming praises for the Finnish trio, but as I already have mentioned, the remainder of the album contains nothing new compared to ‘They Used Dark Forces/Teutonic Witch’, and once I’m through that track I have absolutely no desire to sit around and listen to another hour and a half of the album. It seems that Reverend Bizarre have made this long simply for the sake of being long, and this coupled with the repetitive nature of the music really hinders any sort of advancement one can make with the album.