The Pilgrim Premiere “Dragonfly” from Walking into the Forest

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on April 3rd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the pilgrim

Available to preorder since January, the debut album from The Pilgrim will be released April 26 through Heavy Psych Sounds. The 10-song/38-minute Walking into the Forest is a new venture for Gabriele Fiori, who’s already well known for being the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label and booking agency as well as the frontman of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie. Hey, some people like to stay busy.

Before the album was being announced, I was fortunate enough to be asked to write the bio for The Pilgrim, and of course I jumped at the opportunity as I tend to do. My motivation was pretty simple, and I think listening to Walking into the Forest makes the argument perhaps best of all, which was why I was so keen to host the premiere of “Peace of Mind,” the album’s opening track, when the time came for the announcement to go out. With The PilgrimFiori and his cohort drummer Filippo Ragazzoni don’t just take on new textures, but as songs like the Hawkwind cover “Brainstorm” show, there’s a definite tie-in with the work Fiori has done in the past. It comes in a more peaceful form throughout “The Time You Wait” and the finger-picked beginning of “Pendulum,” perhaps, but that sense of collective psychedelic trip is still there, and it feels all the more resonant for its foundation in earthy acoustic guitar, to which quiet-but-welcome drums/percussion are added along with keys and vocals. “Peace of Mind” begins the record at a hippie ramble, and soon enough after, “Sailor” seems to speak to the exploration that’s getting underway in this material, with a broader melodic scope and an affecting, bigger finish.

Because that’s what Walking into the Forest is: the beginning of a new exploration. It’s right The-pilgrim-walking-into-the-forestthere in the title in the word “into,” which implies you’re starting from somewhere else and entering the forest, and it’s right there in the prominent front foot of the Maarten Donders cover art. These songs may have been years in the making, but the recording unites them in the purpose of feeling out and establishing this unfamiliar sonic terrain, where it’s not about the effects wash or the space rock thrust, or about the classic ’70s shuffle, but about creating a not entirely dissimilar atmosphere through the most natural of folkish elements — a guitar and a voice. That’s the core of what The Pilgrim does, but of course Fiori and Ragazzoni expand the sound with drums and keyboards, echo on the vocals and so on. It’s all part of conjuring an acid folk vibe, and they do it well from “Peace of Mind” through the relatively subdued guitar/keys finish of “Suite #2.” Not every song is trying to manifest the same idea — that would invariably lead to a monotonous listening experience, which the album isn’t, but they all work together in order to create the sense of journeying along with the duo in the creative process.

When asked for the bio, Fiori described the song “Dragonfly” as a “mind-dream,” which I like a lot, as well as his favorite on the album. Indeed, the track traffics well in the ethereal, and makes its presence felt through early intertwining of soft vocals and guitar with spaced-out keys before the strumming and drumming picks up before the two-minute mark. Those keyboard droplets stay consistent throughout, and late in the track a sweeping solo comes forward in the mix and ends up gently leading the way out just past the song’s fifth minute — it’s the only inclusion on Walking into the Forest to cross that line.

Fiori, as noted, or at least implied, has a fairly manic (and admirable) work ethic, so it’s easy to imagine that, should he choose to focus on it, a second The Pilgrim record could arrive sooner than the years it took to put together Walking into the Forest. Between Black RainbowsKiller Boogie, putting out other bands’ albums and booking events like the Obelisk-co-presented Heavy Psych Sounds Fest tour in the US (info here), he’s not exactly short on current projects, but sometimes once you start on a path through the forest, the best thing to do is just keep going and see where it leads you.

I’ve included that bio I wrote for the album here, in case you’re interested. It’s under the player with the premiere of “Dragonfly” and a quick comment from Fiori about the track specifically.

Please enjoy:

Gabriele Fiori on “Dragonfly”:

Dragonfly is the fourth track of the album and the one I personally like the most because its different phases; one is heavenly and choral, but then suddenly starts with rhythm parts and nice vocals, to end with a guitar solo that intertwines with the other instruments to create something truly magic.

The Pilgrim’ debut album Walking Into The Forest will be released on April 26th via Heavy Psych Sounds. Cover art by Maarten Donders.

Preorder available now: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm?#HPS092

Bio:

Gabriele Fiori — already frontman of Rome-based outfits Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie and a key figure in Europe’s heavy underground as the head of the Heavy Psych Sounds label and booking agency — was not exactly lacking for things to do. And yet, a couple years back, The Pilgrim started to nebulously take shape as an idea for a solo-project, something different than the hard-driving psychedelia and garage heavy rock for which he’d already been so revered.

It wasn’t until Jan. 2018 that he really got to putting songs together, but the end result on Walking into the Forest is a space-folk release with a personality unto itself. Songs like opener “Peace of Mind” evoke some of Fiori’s more rocking side, while “Sunset in the Desert” feels like an ode to the acoustic album Kyuss never made, and side B, which starts with the Hawkwind cover “Brainstorm” and ends with the moody strum of “Suite #2” — originally from Void Generator’s 2004 debut EP; when Fiori was in the band — hones a cosmic drift and textures that nonetheless remain accessible and organic thanks to their acoustic foundation.

“The main point in common with Black Rainbows is the diversity of the songs,” Fiori explains. “You have mind-dreams like ‘Dragonfly’ or ‘Sailor,’ or the more folk rock ‘Peace of Mind,’ passing through space with ‘The Time You Wait’ and the melodic-melancholic ‘When I Call Your Name.’”

In completing the arrangements, Fiori turned to Black Rainbows drummer Filippo Ragazzoni, and as he says, “Songs came out so spontaneously and easy. I always played acoustic guitar and wanted to push further on this path. The songwriting, rehearsing and recording approach was so different from usual Rainbows or Boogie style, both to me and Filippo for drums, because all the instruments needed to be played smoothly, softly.”

With Walking into the Forest, Fiori evokes a sound that is both classic and fresh, melodically rich and creatively constructed. It is a new outlet for Fiori that demands spiritual as well as auditory engagement, and an all-things-permissible sonic context that one can only hope The Pilgrim continues to explore.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

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Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio Recap: Episode 10

Posted in Radio on February 18th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

gimme radio logo

Yeah, this episode was cool except for the goober hosting it. I recorded the voice breaks pretty early in the day on Friday, and I don’t know if I wasn’t awake or what, but I just couldn’t get it together. I think I did the middle break in two takes and that was about as good as it got. I’d still like to go back and get another shot at the opening one. And by the time I actually got to the end of the show, I was so damned afraid of screwing it up again that I basically sprinted for the stop button to finish recording. They can’t all be gold, I guess.

The good news is the playlist itself was awesome. As I tried repeatedly and failed to explain during the show itself, this episode wound up being a pretty vast international swath of acts, and that was something that just happened out of the blue. I didn’t even realize it until afterward. Sweden, Greece, the US, Italy, Norway, Australia, Germany. It’s a broad mix of stuff from a variety of places, and I like that. it’s a lot of new music and I like that too. Really, it’s just the sound of my own voice I could do without. Ha.

I’ll get ’em next time, or something.

Playlist follows. Thanks for reading and/or listening.

The Obelisk Show – 02.17.19

Warp Out of My Life Warp*
Automaton Talos Awakens TALOS*
The Munsens Dirge (For Those to Come) Unhanded*
BREAK
Vokonis Grasping Time Grasping Time*
Terras Paralelas Bom Presságio Entre Dois Mundos*
The Pilgrim Peace of Mind Walking into the Forest*
SÂVER I, Vanish They Came with Sunlight*
REZN Quantum Being Calm Black Water*
BREAK
Colour Haze Love Colour Haze
Aver Disorder Orbis Majora*
Troll Legend Master, Book I: Proverbs of Hell Legend Master*
BREAK
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard The Spaceships of Ezekiel Yn Ol I Anwnn*
Monovine Throw Me a Bone D.Y.E.*
Demon Head The Night is Yours Hellfire Ocean Void*
Old Mexico Past the Western Wall Old Mexico*

The Obelisk Show on Gimme Radio airs every other Sunday night at 7PM Eastern, with replays the following Tuesday at 9AM. Next show is March 3. Thanks for listening if you do.

Gimme Radio website

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The Pilgrim Premieres “Peace of Mind”; Walking into the Forest Available to Preorder

Posted in audiObelisk, Whathaveyou on January 30th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

the pilgrim

This is the first audio to come from The Pilgrim‘s debut album, Walking into the Forest, and when one finds out that the figure behind the project — who might indeed be the pilgrim in question — is Gabriele Fiori, known as the head of Heavy Psych Sounds and frontman of Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie, that will do little to prepare you for what’s coming. Sure, there’s still a bit of psychedelic edge — okay, more than a bit — to The Pilgrim‘s work, but as Fiori launches this new project, he indeed begins a new exploration in style and form. Space folk, acid psych, classic psychedelic serenity — all of these feed into The Pilgrim‘s work on Walking into the Forest but there’s a foundation in rock too, and it could hardly be more appropriate that “Peace of Mind” is the track to be unveiled with the album announcement, because it sums up a lot of the point of view on display throughout.

Fiori, whose presence in Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie The-pilgrim-walking-into-the-forestbleeds through those bands’ recordings in larger-than-life form, creating an increasingly grand cosmic wash in the former and a classic heavy shuffle in the latter, rawer, but still turned on and tuned in, is very much front and center throughout Walking into the Forest. And fair enough so, since ostensibly it’s a solo-project. But with effects on his vocals and layers of keys and the drums of Black Rainbows bandmate Filippo Ragazzoni worked in intermittently, there’s a wide-open sensibility to the creative sphere in which he’s working. He’s honest in terms of his influences — he’s not coming out of the gate pretending he’s Hank Williams or something — but it’s new ground for him to cover, and he does well in making it his own as he makes his way through the album.

I’ll have a proper review up — I also wrote the bio, so might post that — at some point between now and April 26, which is the set release date, but you can take a listen to “Peace of Mind” on the player below and get yourself introduced.

Info follows from the PR wire, as well as a quote from Fiori himself.

Enjoy:

Gabriele Fiori on The Pilgrim:

“This is a project I really care about, it has been in my pocket for so long but without any available time for it. Finally we made it! And I am so happy, proud and relieved to have accomplished it. To me, it’s an authentic work, it came out really spontaneously from the inside and it’s a challenge cause we never played so low and calm!”

PEACE OF MIND is the first single of The Pilgrim debut album Walking Into The Forest. The record will be released on April 26th via Heavy Psych Sounds. Cover art by Maarten Donders.

Preorder available now: https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/shop.htm?#HPS092

AVAILABLE IN:

20 test press vinyl
250 marbled yellow background – red vinyl
250 orange background splatter in black green blue vinyl
black vinyl

digipak (6 panels)

digital

The Pilgrim is the latest solo project of Gabriele Fiori, frontman of Rome-based outfits Black Rainbows and Killer Boogie.

With “Walking into the Forest”, Fiori evokes a sound that is both classic and fresh, melodically rich and creatively constructed. It is a new outlet for Fiori that demands spiritual as well as auditory engagement, and an all-things-permissible sonic context.

The Pilgrim on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds on Thee Facebooks

Heavy Psych Sounds website

Heavy Psych Sounds on Bandcamp

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The Pilgrim, The Pilgrim: All Three Wishes and a Kickstarter

Posted in Reviews on July 10th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Not to be confused with the trad doom trio Pilgrim from Providence, Rhode Island, The Pilgrim are a bluesier heavy rocking five-piece from Baltimore. They make their debut in the form of the full-length The Pilgrim, which they’re self-releasing on Kickstarter-supported vinyl. The six songs that comprise the album were put to tape in 2009 by Rob Girardi at Sir Lord Baltimore Studio, and the band reportedly traded roofing in order to get the tracks recorded, so if you’re wondering what might be behind a three-year delay between tracking and pressing, let that give some indication of the kind of budget they’re working with. Nonetheless, a Spring 2012 tour also brought a handcrafted CD digipak issue, limited to 500, so the songs are out there one way or another, however much they might represent a version of The Pilgrim that The Pilgrim have already outgrown. If that’s the case (and I’ll underscore the point that I don’t know if it is or isn’t), all the more kudos to the band, because the tracks on The Pilgrim hardly sound formative. They’re crisply produced in a manner both organic and professional, and the band maintains a rough-hewn energy well suited to their ‘70s-derived sound, vocalist Mis Zill and guitarist Bob Sweeney coming together in several of the songs – “Cold Lady” and the later “Hey Freddy” and “The Pilgrim,” as examples – for what might truly be called duet parts. The band behind them, which has been through two bass players since Scott Rot played on this album (including Tonie Joy of the recently-reviewed The Convocation and current bassist Dan Evans), proves nimble, moving between fuzzy swagger on “Perdido” and a boogie shuffle on the title-track, guitarist Danny McDonald, Sweeney, Evans and drummer Derrick Hans touching on a variety of ‘70s rock tendencies without really ever aping one band or another. The resulting atmosphere hits on a mood somewhat reminiscent of Valkyrie’s Man of Two Visions, which was hard to place in a similar way – Zill’s vocals being an obvious difference between the two bands.

The Pilgrim have a clear awareness of their genre, and that shows right from the start of “Really Movin’,” which opens the self-titled with blues harp and a driving, classically-styled riff. Hans makes his snare pay for some unknown crime while McDonald and Sweeney move into and out of harmony with each other – feel free to cite Thin Lizzy for riff construction and any number of classic acts who’ve put their two guitars to good use over the decades as comparison points – and Rot does well holding the rhythm with the drums but veering here and there with and between the guitars. Zill’s vocals are an immediate focal point. She’s mixed high but is a more than capable singer, though perhaps best when backed by Sweeney and McDonald on “Cold Lady,” the longest cut on The Pilgrim at 8:12 and arguably the most stylistically complex as well, flowing well from one part to the next in its first half and much of the second to a frenetic boogie and slower break that boasts some of the album’s best vocals repeating the line “Go on and go.” That kind of strength of performance is heard again in the chorus of side B opener “Hey Freddy,” and because of that, it’s easy (and somewhat ironic) to forget “Perdido” closing out side A, but if you’re into dueling solos, it’s not to be missed. Sweeney and McDonald seem both to be lead players, which might account for their adept melodicism as well, and “Perdido” is a blistering showcase of their prowess, as well as a well-written song, on which Zill tops a kind of Witchcraftian sub-waltz (there’s a riff in there that keeps taking me back to “What I Am” from the first album – not a complaint) with an appropriately more crooned delivery. When “Hey Freddy” arrives on the CD, it does so as an energetic burst to contrast the subdued finish of the track before it.

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