Such is the mentality i imagine is behind "Lithium Gates." After the bitter dissolve of Reverend Bizarre, Albert Witchfinder found himself sitting on tons of material and even more ambition and a creative void yearning to be filled. One of the results is this record, a compilation of the first two Puritan albums on one CD, near 70 minutes of slow and agonized doom metal. The first five tracks are the self-titled debut as well as the most obviously representative of Witchfinder's previous band, coming off like a slightly more aggressive version of the Reverend. Maybe a tad more unhinged, maybe a bit more destructive but purely classic doom in the Sabbath mould with a nod to the low-end slow-flow dynamics of Earth 2. Little is changed aside from Albert's vocals being a little more sparse and hysterical-otherwise it's the logical continuation of "So Long Suckers." Is it bad? Not at all. Is it especially creative or different? No. Although i do give Albert credit for using a sample of a Charles Manson interview against the very lovely closer, "Those Who Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy." The music on this track lives up to the title, a mournful dirge of clean guitars propped up behind an ever growing cloud of distorted drone, creating a distinct sense of wounded melancholy and anxiety.
Tracks 6-11 are "The Black Law" LP, where the Puritan really start to go off into their own microcosmic world. Only two of these compositions could really be thought of as "songs" in the Reverend sense, instead becoming more an atmospheric exercise in doom dynamics and extended amp drones, a bitter and crusty crumble of distortion and well crafted (but also well hidden) melodies, an evocation and a prayer to a darker force existing far beyond the realms of common understanding. At times it destroys, at times it assaults and at times it pacifies but it almost always confounds and challenges and never relents. It's an engaging set of material and is the actual part of the record that begins to speak to Albert Witchfinder's identity beyond Reverend Bizarre, a personal journey into one man's private torments. In that regard the Manson sample used before seems even more fitting, a wish to take a knife and carve up the niceties of society, a need to make a statement that not everyone will understand as being creative but can be construed as such when viewed through the proper lens. The Puritan is certainly not the second coming of the Reverend Bizarre; no band ever could be. What they are is an intriguing doom metal comet of destructive portent, a herald of some sort of undefined coming terror. We won't know until it's closer.