It’s hard to think of Pale Divine’s workingman doom as a style that could change all that much, but their sixth album is unlike anything else they’ve ever released. Much of that shift can be directly attributed to the recruitment of Dana Ortt as a second guitarist and co-vocalist. It’s a pretty logical move when you consider that guitarist/vocalist Greg Diener and drummer Darin McCloskey had previously played with Ortt in Beelzefuzz but even as a fan of both groups, Consequence of Time takes some getting used to.
With Beelzefuzz, having unfortunately disbanded in 2019, I do find myself wondering how much of this material was originally intended for that project. The wafting waltzes on “Phantasmagoria” and “Saints of Fire” could’ve come straight from The Righteous Bloom, and even the more straightforward riff sets on songs like the title track carry a dreamlike vibe. Ortt’s vocals also seem more prominent than Diemer’s husky bellow, seeming to not only taking the lead more often but generally standing out due to their higher pitch.
Fortunately, the musicians’ pre-existing chemistry keeps these elements from getting too uncanny. The riffs and rhythms keep up the groovy tradition seen with both bands, upbeat and off-the-cuff with a tightness that never gets too stiff. “Shadow’s Own” and “Broken Martyr” also show off a lightheartedness reminiscent of 70s rock, and there are moments where the vocal interplay reminds me of a doomy answer to MKIII-era Deep Purple.
Of course, the album’s experimental nature leaves room for future fine-tuning. The production job feels somewhat claustrophobic as the vocal layers can get buried at times while the guitars would benefit from some extra weight. Everything is coherent and well played but could stand to be fuller. Part of me also wishes there were more emphasis on the choruses, but the riffs are easygoing and varied enough for it to not be a serious concern.
Once you get used to Pale Divine’s adjustments, Consequence of Time proves to be a pretty great offering of psychedelic doom. The otherworldly atmosphere and free-spirited pacing are a far cry from the morose musings of Cemetery Earth or even their 2018 self-titled album, but the band’s knack for tight riffs and efficient songwriting is on full display. This is definitely a grower, but those who were acquainted with Beelzefuzz will find this easier to get a feel for. Considering how great Pale Divine’s track record has been from the get-go, I imagine future developments with this lineup will be even stronger.
“Tyrants & Pawns (Easy Prey)”
“Consequence of Time”