You’d be forgiven if you found Pyrrhon’s sophomore effort The Mother of Virtues
too difficult to digest. It is an abrasive album with an opening track, ninety seconds in length that serves more as a road block than a welcome mat – this shi
t is like swallowing shrapnel – and it’s probably best if one dove headfirst into Virtues
because there is no shallow end to ease into. There are no secret grooves to search for beneath the chaos employed. There are no clean vocal passages that lend some semblance of solace. Pyrrhon simply do not rest. Virtues
is an intense fifty minutes that grows continually stranger by the second, rarely looking back at the destruction caused. This all sets up for a release that ultimately embraces its ugliness, using it as a weapon, driving insane riffs alongside frenetic drumming, creating a thick density – a gratifying factor – requiring multiple listens to unpack all of its nuances.
It’s hard to describe Virtues
without using every synonym to crazy, because on its surface that’s all it is, a disjointed mess of guitars that sound engulfed in some manic war for dominance of sound with vocalist, Doug Moore, egging them on. It’s easy to get lost in. Tracks like “Sleeper Agent” and “Implant Fever” cut their dark jazz rhythms with razor-like precision, expanding and contracting heavy doses of dissonance before exploding with vigor. The band replays this concept often but it’s no gimmick. Pyrrhon’s technicality is impressive, to say, literally, the least, acting as an accent to the madness, pushing the edge they teeter along and remarkably avoiding capsizing. If there’s any beauty to be found it’s in how much control the band displays. Guitarist, Dylan DiLella, offers little in the way of cohesion opting to move against the grain of the rest of the group. This constantly uproots the bands rhythm but never their chemistry as they blend it all back together time and again before each track is said and done. Never is this more apparent than during “Eternity In A Breath” and to a greater extent “White Flag” with each starting “calm” enough, if not completely unsettling, before lacerating their atmosphere’s with breakneck leads and the ever-changing rhythm section.
And damn if that rhythm isn’t impeccable. Every now and again the bass will peak its head out and lead the onslaught of riffs before falling neatly back beside its drumming counterpart, aiding this fusion of guitars that teeter carefully toward becoming lost in nothing but a gust of noise – “Balkanized”. It’s hardly a fluid transition nor is it even very noticeable, but once caught evokes an awe of ‘How’d they do that!?’ which turns into a rather common aspect of Virtues
. “Invisible Injury” is a psychotic trip into the depths of the mind tunneling through the ears with the ease of a jackhammer. It’s a potent display of vitriol as the album reaches its peak in pandemonium, however the momentum is hardly slowed thereafter with its rousing final two numbers; closer “The Mother of Virtues” is a ten minute monster that stands alongside the eight tracks before it summarizing the strength within each song upon ending the disc definitively.
’ greatest success is it’s unwillingness to play by the rules – and here in the dance driven world of 2014 all the more. It’s an album built off the backs of Gorguts and Converge but with legs spastically moving in directions akin to and opposite of those bearers. The replay value feels astronomical as identifying even the simplest of riffs feels like open heart surgery with the tension to match, but it’s that itch to keep digging, to hear more through the layers of feedback and bellowed growls that one finds rewards with the reaping. It certainly requires a certain psyche in order to be “enjoyed” maybe a fashionable straight jacket to boot, incidentally, a necessary accessory from the madness induced following The Mother of Virtues