There is a very wise Chinese proverb that states, “If you must play, decide on three things at the onset: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.”
Ancient Chinese secret, huh? Apparently so, because far too many bands these days seem to opt for the route that involves gasping, limping and plopping out rot and dregs over and over again until listeners finally decide to stop paying attention.
Luckily, we occasionally come across some artists that bow out of the game at the apex, leaving fans with nary a smudge to complain about. Such is the case with Finland’s purveyors of classic doom, Reverend Bizarre. After two full-lengths, three EP’s (two of which clock in at over an hour), and a handful of rare splits and demo’s, the band has decided to disappear in a plume of smoke with their envoi LP, III: So Long Suckers, and it’s honestly one HELL of a crowning achievement.
Two discs that tower with well over 2 hours worth of slooooow, classic doom. Not exactly an easy pill to swallow for the casual onlooker. Then again, Reverend Bizarre‘s brand never really was intended for the casual metal fan. So Long Suckers continues to focus on music steeped with the more ballsy, bold doomage of classic Sabbath, just draaaaaaawn out with about three hundred more “a’s.” The record puts a little more focus on tempo shifts and mixed moods, however, which helps make the prodigious trip a little more palatable.
The itty-bitty ‘party flavor’ heard at the start of II: Crush the Insects (“Doom All Over the World”) is toned down here, but there’s still plenty of swagger to be heard, as a couple of the lengthier numbers feature a wonderfully greazy yet bold groove that could easily set a person to struttin’. Listen to “They Used Dark Forces/Teutonic Witch” [29:05] and “One Last Time” [15:39] and you’ve got a fitting soundtrack to hitchin’ 200 miles up into the stratosphere.
For those more inclined to slow-bang into the grave, “Sorrow” [25:20], “Funeral Summer” [11:41], and the kingly “Caesar Forever” [15:43] all travel down a much darker, more grievous path, and there’s even a nod towards the traditional galloping of Manowar and Manilla Road afoot during “Anywhere Out of This World” [25:32], a tune that has the potential for stealing Doom Song Of The Year away from Pale Divine‘s “I Alone the Traveler.”
That’s it, they’re done. No more. Haters can rejoice, and fans craving new material from any of the Rev players will have to turn their attention to the dark progressive rock stylings of Orne, or any of the other bands the members will surely kick into gear in the near future. Reverend Bizarre have left fans of doom metal with an immensely impressive catalog of material to return to, and return we certainly will. These albums, these EP’s, these splits, they’re all bound for the Doom Hall Of Fame, and with III: So Long Suckers, Reverend Bizarre have very effectively closed the book on one of the greatest bands doom metal will ever have the pleasure of producing. Godspeed, you weird pontiffs. Godspeed.