Pillorian is an American band formed in the early summer of 2016 by Stephan Parker (Maestus, ex-Arkhum), John Haughm (ex-Agalloch), and Trevor Matthews (Uada, ex-Infernus) They are a young formation since they were basically formed after Agalloch disbanded. The band’s sound can be described as the dark and twisted style of dark/black metal. After much anticipation, their debut album “Obsidian Arc” is out this month.
As a huge fan of Agalloch, I surely couldn’t help but compare “Obsidian Arc” to the Agalloch sound at the first spin… and I thought to myself “Why is this record not so atmospheric and not so magical?… Why cannot I feel that spark?” However, the more I span the record, the more I realized that it’s one thing to look at a record like this objectively and another thing to expect the Pillorian sound to be exactly like the Agalloch sound that I am used to. So my first advice would be to not compare the band’s sound to Agalloch’s although there are similarities; I am sure that Agalloch fans will recognize the signature vocals by John Haughm and the familiar guitar tunes. However, I recommend you to leave the prejudgments and the skepticism behind and embark on the dark journey…
There is definitely something sinister and magical about the album’s sound which is dynamic but doom-y with twisted and dark surprises here and there. There is a perfect contrast with the dynamic style of the album, reflected in the drums, and the dark/black/doom metal approach, reflected in the guitars and vocals, forming the highlight of this record. This makes the album quite unique. You can definitely tell that the band has a vision and concept but they are also not afraid to push the boundaries of the darkness and experiment with it. Therefore, the more you listen to the record, the more it will captivate you; the songs will become more meaningful and even progressive.
After a few more spins, the first and the last songs catch my attention the most. The album feels like a cycle for me; the first song captivated me from the start. There is no atmospheric intro but the band introduces the album to us in the most straightforward fashion. It gets even more interesting towards the end with the last song, which has become my favorite. This is where the album gets the darkest but also the most atmospheric and progressive with many transitions within the song. As a matter of fact, this song summarizes the record the best; progressive, enchanting and dark.
“Obsidian Arc” is definitely a great start for Pillorian. I am sure it will catch the attention of not only the Agalloch fans but also the fans of dark/doom/black metal in general. I advise you to listen to the record from the beginning to the end to get the full experience.
Stephen Parker – bass, guitars
John Haughm – vocals, guitars
Trevor Matthews – drums
01. By The Light Of The Black Sun
02. Archaen Divinity
03. The Vestige of Thorns
04. Forged Iron Crucible
05. A Stygian Pyre
06. The Sentient Arcanum
07. Dark is the River of Man