Review Summary: Excellent crusty Sludge from Sweden
Pyramido from Sweden quickly rose up, from its acclaimed debut ‘Sand’ to its sublime follow-up album ‘Salt’, this band just kept on getting better, until it reached its pinnacle on ‘Saga’. I’ll explain – the debut was a massive slab of Sludge/Doom but nothing out of the ordinary, apart from kicking your balls. The follow-up album marked a divergence from the Stoner influences to something more gritty and Hardcore-influenced, and Sweden is a hotspot for that. It may be intentional, may be not. Where this style is concerned, the less Stoner stuff the better, since there are enough bands playing in that vein. What’s not so popular is extreme music, a mingling of Doom-driven Hardcore Sludge.
‘Saga’ is remarkable on two counts – one, on its vision and infusion of flat-out abrasive tones, nodding to the crusty style of music out there, and two, its dirge-laden melodies and tones. This automatically makes this band unique in this day and age. It’s certainly deliberate, be it the opening song, the second one or the second last one. The reason song titles aren’t mentioned because they’re in Swedish, perhaps that’s a detriment to further understanding of the band’s music. Nonetheless, it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the music because all you need is a good pair of ears. And a brain to maybe comprehend its genius on multiple levels.
The artwork is brilliant, step up from the first two, both varying in their expression, with different logos used each time. Available on vinyl as well as on CD, put out by Farewell Records and Heart & Crossbone from Israel respectively, this has to be one of the most outstanding releases in this style. Every song and there are only five, excluding an instrumental, is different from the other and brings something new in its own way, its own structuring. Yet it’s coherent in the overall scheme of things, the placement, the moods, the plodding, the ambience in between, it’s intuitive almost. That little instrumental serves to give you a relief from the harsh and tearing experience, a moment for reflection, and resumes it with a debilitating tune in the form of song number five, Ingen människa är en ö.
The vocals are more forceful, with the angst of the Grindcore/Crustcore bands almost, it adds so much violence albeit suppressed into the music. There is a shade of darkness, of impending gloom and misery, moments of reflection and breakdown, a mental and emotional one. This is a beautiful album, one that doesn’t compromise on its extremity or vision, one that takes the sound forward, evolving, plodding, remaining constant in its quality.
‘Saga’ is not just the best album in the band’s discography but one of the best albums to come out in this style of music in recent years. I solemnly hope it gets the appreciation that’s due, not just from the Doom/Stoner fans but from fans of all styles of music – Sludge has a future because it can take in sounds from different styles, be it Death Metal in the case of Lurk or even Crust/Hardcore in Pyramido’s.