Sunday, June 14, 2015

Pyrrhon - Growth Without End (EP) [2015]

I could never feign to hide my affliction with most bands nowadays practicing the more modern, and more some reason more enticing ordeals of death metal, like those of Ulcerate, most post-2000 Immolation, Wormed, Fleshgod Apocalypse, or even the New York quartet Pyrrhon until this point in their career (although I have enjoyed perhaps a handful of releases in the medium) simply because much of this technically-infused, dissonant death metal feels as gratifying and appealing to me as a basket full of camel dung, and not even the pasty kind of dung, at that. That Pyrrhon underwent some inexplicable epiphany after their lukewarm ''The Mother of Virtues'', which was likewise greeted with praise and hype, seems unreasonable to me, since their latest EP ''Growth Without End'' does not seem like a huge deviation from the cancerous and bowels-out jingle of its predecessor, yet it simultaneously surprises me that the four piece could jump so far in between two chronologically very close recordings, ripping open the entrails of quality and fastidiously backing down from the oversize proportions of the full-length into a sort of formulaic greatness that translates into memorability and good song-writing, not unlike the recent EP by Ketha which I enjoyed so much.

Granted, Pyrrhon still panders to the same audience as before, but if anything with this EP they've gained new listeners, myself included. For sure, I never thought ''The Mother of Virtues'' quite felt like a godawful abortion the same way some other albums in the field did, but it's also safe to assume it will never pique my attention the way this EP did. Imagine those placid, germ-ridden excesses of afterbirth trimmed and truncated carefully, refined and polished until the work at hand still resembles the fetid grotesqueness of the initial product, but far clearer around edges, sans the overloaded carton covering that was weighing both itself and the listener's attention span down: that's ''Growth Without End''. The EP unfolds with ''Cancer Mantra'' and the band wastes no time getting to the fucking point, exploding with bombastic, wacky chords and disjointed rhythmic sways that sound unlike anything I've quite heard before, laden with dark, chaotic deliciousness. This isn't exactly the industrial and eccentric parade I discovered on Ketha's latest EP, because each musician is keeping his instrument closely intact, with little room for experimentation. That said, so much is going on here that I find it difficult not to dub this experimental. The guitars are absolutely preposterous and monstrous, and giving them props would be insulting because they've loaded the EP with so many unhinged, jagged riffs within just 15 minutes that it's nothing short of outstanding, but their discordance and the odd harmonies produced are also excellent in shaping the atmosphere, so much, in fact, that I'd easily equate pretty much any of the 5 brief songs here to a Deathspell Omega under the influence of Gorguts or Ulcerate.

The drums are absolutely ballistic, unpredictable, but at the same time sporadic so you're getting more of a great jazzy vibe rather than a pointless clangor of cymbals, toms and snares. The vocals, of course, deserve a mention here, since they can seamlessly shift between deep Immolation-esque growls and more rampant punk/hardcore inflections, like on ''Cancer Mantra'', to a timbre that lies in between the two, some underlying inherent evil seeping through the clot of a complex, mercurial cellular expanse, which, like the unpredictable instrumentation keeps changing, resurfacing and morphing as though in a rehearsal. Seriously, ''Growth Without End'' is not for the weak. The strength of the songs lie in their brevity, with the longest track (''Turing's Revenge'') being about 4 and a half minutes, and the shortest two, at 2 minutes and 1 and a half  minute respectively, being so concise that I couldn't help filter them through my unsuspecting auditory system over and over until my ears were in tatters. Everything here is so damn acrobatic and yet muscular that it leaves nothing behind. Sure, I could have supplanted some of the completely disorganized chord swells like those toward the end of ''Turing's Revenge'' for something equally captivating and energized as the other songs on the EP, but I'm more than willing to forgive a few stains on a 15-minute listen that already struck home far and wide, destroying my expectations. So much, in fact, that now I'm willing to give their full-length a second chance. Even the lyrics are pure gold, concerning various subjects, from history to mental deterioration, and they help tie up ''Growth Without End'' into the perfect cradle of malice to which belongs, fostered by oozing depravity and cancerous carbuncles, until, I hope, they all implode and give birth to something of even greater stature. Well done.

Cancer Mantra
Forget Yourself
The Mass

Rating: 85%

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