The Puritan

Lithium Gates

Written by: EW on 20/12/2008 09:44:45

Formed from the ashes of the utterly brilliant Reverend Bizarre comes The Puritan, the new project of bassist/vocalist Albert Witchfinder (or here using his real name, Sami Hynninen) which as anyone who knows the man would expect, is Doom (notice the capitalisation). Coming to an end more suddenly than expected, Hynninen obviously had many creative juices left flowing within his disturbed mind that he felt needed to be released upon the world, and us doom fanatics can only thank him that he did so. RevBiz (henceforth known as) are quite rightly regarded as one of doom's true greats and with The Puritan, Hynninen and pals have not tampered too dramatically with the formula found on their swansong "So Long Suckers" - that being long, drawn out ramblings never verging beyond the limits of what is considered 'true doom'.

It is testament to the songsmanship of RevBiz/Hynninen to have garnered such success (in relative terms, of course) with a band that proudly took the lead in looking to the future of doom through looking backwards. "Lithium Gates", which is actually a compilation of the band's 2006 and 2008 EPs ("The Puritan" and "The Black Law" respectively), never even reaches a universally recognised mid-pace, instead steamrollering along in almost monotonous discourse broken up by the odd ambient track or period of reflective feedback. "Lithium Gates" as an overall piece is arguably slower than any one RevBiz release for they had their moments of rollicking stoner-inspired riffery ("Doom Over The World" anyone?) and many long, long songs ("Cirith Ungol") based upon repetitive riff structures that outdoes much of this platter. Key differences emerge in the ambience of "Why Did You Say That Summer Was Dying?", "Those Who Sow In Tears Shall Reap In Joy" and "We Have To Be Awake When They Come"'; mystifyingly sullen though relaxing periods of stress-relief when one forgets all about the disparaging doom between which it is sandwiched in a similar technique to that which Varg Vikernes employed in his classic Burzum days. Hynninen, for someone with such a recognisable voice is not so apparent too as a huskier, darker tone is laid upon us in reflection of the more downbeat nature of The Puritan's works thus far. Despite RevBiz ploughing along at snail speed come the end of their career they never sounded as bleak as "The Stars Above Us All Are Evil", nor "The Sepulchral God Holding A Speech For The Moribund", a song in particular that makes Burning Witch sound bright and breezy.

Being the perfect amalgamation of two of my favourite ever bands, "It Is Your Own Decision To Respect Life" is the sound of Viking-era Bathory slowed to the speed of glacial movement, it's whining brass-sounding lead guitar giving the song real panache over it's militaristic rhythm beat and making me wonder why noone save for Morrigan has utilised that tone since Bathory. Little stylistic difference can be detected between the first and second halves of the disc representing the two EPs due to a consistent vibe running throughout, but "The Black Law" (songs 6-11) would take the honours if they were to be rated separately. RevBiz fans are going to know the drill for the real doom songs on offer here but "Lithium Gates" proves itself to not be surprise-free and stuffed full of just marauding doom, even if some of the magic of that 'other' band hasn't quite revealed itself after a few listens.


Download: It Is Your Own Decision To Respect Life, Why Did You Say That Summer Was Dying?
For The Fans Of: Reverend Bizarre, Burning Witch, Cathedral
Listen: Myspace (no The Puritan Myspace!)
Buy: iTunes

Release date 19.11.2008
Ranka Recordsnull

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