This double-album is actually a re-release of the REVEREND’s first full-length “In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend,” packaged with a bonus disc entitled “Return To The Rectory.” The band had recorded and intended to release a new EP, “Reverend Bizarre Blesses You With Fire,” but upon making the decision to re-release “In The Rectory” they decided to rename the EP and tack it on for free. Since “In The Rectory” is already reviewed on this site, this review is going to focus only on the “Return To The Rectory” EP, which is an awesome record in its own right.
Kicking things off is a slower-than-slow, mostly-instrumental intro “The March Of The War Elephants,” after which we are greeted by the soft, acoustic introduction of “The Festival.” You may be thinking “Wait, soft? Acoustic? REVEREND BIZARRE?!” Well, on “Return To The Rectory” REVEREND BIZARRE switches it up a lot more than on “In The Rectory” and “Harbinger Of Metal.” This disc finds the band having fun, which some might see as a criminal offence for a Doom band. On “The Goddess Of Doom,” bassist/vocalist Albert Witchfinder invokes the names of the great Doom legends – SAINT VITUS, PENTAGRAM, CANDLEMASS, etc – before declaring them all inferior to the Goddess of Doom, Christina Ricci. Who would have thought a band like the REVEREND would have a sense of humour, eh? Finishing off the disc is “The Wrath Of The War Elephants,” a full-on reprise of opener “The March Of The War Elephants.” With its galloping riff and somewhat up-tempo nature, the song reminds me a bit of SABBATH’s “Children Of The Grave.” It ends the disc nicely and shows yet more variation from the REVEREND.
In addition to the seven songs found here, we are also treated to a video of “Doom Over The World,” which will be appearing on the band’s second full-length, “Crush The Insects!” The song and video are great, though for different reasons – the song rules simply because it rules, but the video is great due it’s over-the-top Metalness.
I would recommend this to any Doom fan and most definitely to REVEREND BIZARRE fans, even if they already own the original “In The Rectory.” This re-release is priced as a normal CD and comes with the awesome “Return To The Rectory,” making it quite a quality purchase. Major props to the REVEREND for essentially selling two albums for the price of one, giving you well over two hours of music. The band plays around a bit more on this EP, but make no mistake – it still contains lots of seriously heavy and sorrowful Doom. My only complaint is with the title – “Return To The Rectory.” Seriously, how awesome of a title is the original name for this EP, “Reverend Bizarre Blesses You With Fire”? (Online July 16, 2005)