Chapel Hill's MAKE have been toiling around the "post-everything" underground since 2010, but somehow did not manage to catch my ear until last year's independent release, The Golden Veil, a predominantly somber affair that successfully wedded bare, unguarded post-rock with the occasional outbreak of unhinged sludge. This year's Pilgrimage of Loathing focuses much more on the latter, with tracks like "Birthed into a Grave They Made for You" and "Human Garbage" paying homage to clear influences such as ISIS and Pelican without being beholden to either.
Conversely, "Two Hawks Fucking" is the sole track on the disk that focuses exclusively on introverted, reflective ambience, a balance which tipped mostly the other way on The Golden Veil. "Dirt" features a plodding-if-deliberately-so sludge riff that ebbs and flows beneath a dirge-like chant. "Nothing" closes the album out with a seamless ascent from moody contemplation to belligerent brawn, the twin polarities that bind MAKE's dichotomous strengths.
Pilgrimage of Loathing should offer a more accessible entry point to the band's catalog than last year's ephemeral Golden Veil, though both remain compelling arguments for MAKE's establishing themselves as titans of the post-metal/experimental sludge set. This album was superbly recorded by Kris Hilbert and mastered by the great James Plotkin, so the band are already heads above the majority of bands plying their wares in this genre.