The Pilgrimage LP was first released in Germany in 1988 (RCA Records). The LP and cassette both contained ten tracks. The CD version contained a bonus cut called Fallen Angel.
The U.S. version of Pilgrimage (also RCA Records) came out in 1989 and was quite different from the original German version. The LP and cassette did not include Fallen Angel, Rose Of Martyrdom, The Man Who Stole The Holy Fire, or Omega Child. They did, however, include three tracks from Zed Yago’s first album, From Over Yonder. The songs were Zed Yago, Rockin’ For The Nation, and The Spell From Over Yonder. The U.S. CD version contains all the tracks on the LP and cassette PLUS Rose Of Martyrdom, The Man Who Stole The Holy Fire, and another song from From Over Yonder; Stay The Course. If that is a lot to process, let me make it easy for you, get the U.S. CD version. It has all the best songs!
Zed Yago was fronted by female vocalist Jutta Weinhold. She looked like a female version of Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.), but luckily she didn’t sound like him. That is, she didn’t suck! Jutta gets my vote as the best female metal vocalist of the ’80s, hands down! Her voice had a real touch of the wicked, but she could blow you away with those soaring, emotional choruses.
Many of Zed Yago’s songs were fantasy based; mostly about adventures at sea. In fact, “Zed Yago” is a fictional character conjured by Jutta. She is supposed to be the daughter of the Flying Dutchman captain, and someone caught between heaven and hell. Something like that. Lyrically, Zed Yago were quite unique and steered clear of most metal clichés.
This is an incredible album. From start to finish Pilgrimage rips with elegant power and metal might. The compositions are carefully crafted with lots of texture. Dual guitars blaze away as the hard-hitting drummer plays like a caveman beating a rock with a mammoth’s tusk. Jutta rules the roost with her dramatic lyrical and vocal majesty. All the tracks pretty much rule, but the cuts The Pale Man, The Fear Of Death, and Black Bone Song reach epic levels of awesome. Put on your puffy shirt, hoist the mainsails, and ROCK! My score: A+