Reverend Bizarre, In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend (2002)
Finnish doomers Reverend Bizarre were only really around for 11 or 12 years, depending on what you count as their last official release, but their impact was massive in Europe and beyond. I’ll readily admit that for a long time, I didn’t get it. Some stuff resonates, some stuff doesn’t, and for me, Reverend Bizarre were one of those bands that other people really liked. It wasn’t until 2010 — and it’s way easier to remember exact dates on these kinds of things when you have an archive of posts about them — when I put up a short Buried Treasure piece about being in London and buying a copy of Reverend Bizarre‘s 2002 debut, In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend, and discussed how I’d always been relatively lukewarm on them, that I began to come around. The difference was made in a comment that post got from a reader who went by the moniker Shrike who commented around here for a while with much appreciated band recommendations — people come and go; nature of the beast — and what he did was really take the time to help me understand the context in which Reverend Bizarre first arrived. Here’s what he said:
May 15, 2010 at 3:44 am
To me it’s not just the music, which is good, but about the fact that they made their music when nobody else was making it. They wrote music which was a tribute to the masters of the old, very rigidly anchored to the traditions of doom metal and very arrogant in their attitudes towards other modern music.
So I think their influece (sic) was huge and propelled doom metal into the spheres it is today, traditional doom metal in particular. Which also means that their influence and style was significant back then, but doesn’t necessarily translate “to today” as well.
What I’d been neglecting was understanding how little of this kind of thing there really was happening at the turn of the century. Even The Gates of Slumber here in the US, who started roughly concurrent to Reverend Bizarre in 1998, would take another two years to get their first album out, and while there was plenty of heavy rock around the US and Europe alike at that point and the two styles are closely linked in my estimation, in terms of doom by doomers for doomers, the names are fewer and farther between, especially when it comes to new bands (at the time) producing material with the quality of “Burn in Hell!,” “In the Rectory,” “The Hour of Death,” “Sodoma Sunrise,” “Doomsower” and “Cirith Ungol,” as much Saint Vitus as Black Sabbath, but delivered with the vitality and passion of a newer generation that, even 14 years later, is still palpable. I didn’t even respond to that comment at the time, because I’m a dick, but it’s been among the most helpful responses I’ve had to a piece of writing on this site, and it genuinely helped shape my opinion on Reverend Bizarre‘s contributions to the sphere of modern traditional doom.
Reverend Bizarre would release two more albums after In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend in 2005’s II: Crush the Insects and their 2007 swansong, III: So Long Suckers, along with an innumerable slew of splits, EPs an singles that actually make up the bulk of their catalog. Today, one can find bassist/vocalist Sami “Albert Witchfinder” Hynninen in Spiritus Mortis (who have a new LP coming), drummer Jari “Earl of Void” Pohjonen in Orne and guitarist Kimi “Peter Vicar” Kärki (Obelisk Questionnaire here) in that band as well as Lord Vicar — who already released an LP this year in Gates of Flesh (review here) — E-Musikgruppe Lux Ohr, his own solo work, and a host of other adventurous projects well worth digging into. That the one-time members of Revered Bizarre would still be contributing to the style these years after the band’s breakup only seems to prove their commitment to doom was no fluke, but a lifestyle choice, and one from which there’s no easy escape. Likewise, the tragic abysses into which In the Rectory of the Bizarre Reverend so willfully and dramatically plunges will not easily let the listener out again.
It’s autumn, so here’s some doom. I hope you enjoy.
This weekend, actually Sunday, marks my 12th wedding anniversary. As of next week, The Patient Mrs. and I will have been together for 19 years. Well more than half of my life. As soon as I get out of work, we’re going to Vermont for the weekend to celebrate. There’s no way you’d recall, and that’s cool, but six years ago, in 2010, we rented a cottage up there for a month (I did some writing while there, a couple posts about the trip) and had what were some of our best times to-date. This time we’re getting a house on the same piece of property just for a couple days, but I expect it will also be awesome. I’ve been very much looking forward to it and feeling generally fortunate to have such love as a defining portion of my life, which is a good way to feel. I’m a lucky, lucky boy. Far luckier than I deserve to be.
Next week, and really the next few weeks, are packed. Monday, a review/stream from Heavy Temple. Tuesday, a Seremonia album stream. Wednesday, a Yeti on Horseback album stream. Thursday, a Nightstalker review/stream. Friday, might post that Truckfighters interview I did at Høstsabbat last weekend. Then the week after that is the Quarterly Review and I have a few streams up my sleeve besides already, so yeah, we’re jammed just about into the middle of next month as it is. Plus there are some tour announcements and things like that slated, videos and so on. Much, much to discuss. I don’t know if the site’s ever had direction so far ahead as it does right at this moment. Then we get into list season as the holidays approach, the next Quarterly Review, the readers poll, etc. It’s madness from here on out, folks. I guess it’s been madness for a while.
But while I’ll spend some time preparing for the week probably early on Sunday, the focus this weekend is on hanging out with The Patient Mrs., basking in good times with her and the little dog Dio, maybe doing a little record shopping and generally feeling excellent about what is unquestionably the best part of my life.
My brain’s kind of all over the place as I wrap up the day/week, but while I mentioned it, I’d like to extend one more round of thanks to Ole Helsted and all involved with Høstsabbat last weekend in Oslo, Norway. I can’t even begin to tell you how validating it is for this entire ongoing project to have people half a world away appreciate the work done on this site enough to extend such a generous invitation and to be so incredibly welcoming and considerate upon my arrival. It was truly humbling and I was honored to be there. Then I met Slomatics. And that fucking ruled too. So yes, thank you again to Høstsabbat for having me.
I can’t help but feel like I’m forgetting something — always — but I think that should do it either way. I hope whatever you’re up to that you have a great and safe weekend. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.