Review Summary: A welcomed return to form for the genre-bending New Yorkers
Pyrrhon’s sophomore album – The Mother of Virtues
– was a perplexing endeavour, for more than just the simple fact that it was extraordinarily dissonant and chaotic. For a band that debuted with something as well-executed as An Excellent Servant But a Terrible Master
, it was odd that their grasp of organised chaos and accessibility-in-moderation seemed to have vanished on their awaited follow up. Teeming with ideas but lacking the tact required to piece them together effectively, it felt as though Pyrrhon were overextending themselves, but there remained an inkling that the New York foursome would soon master what was periodically beyond them. Their newest offering, a brief EP entitled Growth Without End
, confirms my suspicion that it was just a matter of time before Pyrrhon grew into their new style, improving upon all facets of their ambitious but hit-and-miss opus of last year.
Growth Without End
sees Pyrrhon further stripping back the death metal constituents of their sound, opting for a style that is now primarily mathcore. Save for the infrequent use of death growls, you’ll notice far more parallels with The Dillinger Escape Plan, IDYLLS and Jane Doe-era Converge than you will with Gorguts, Artificial Brain, or any other tech-death band of the “dissonant” persuasion. Doug Moore boasts some remarkably versatile vocals, ranging from said gutturals to high-register screams, often blending his false chord projections with a somewhat “clean” shout, resulting in a throatier, more percussive delivery. Even spoken word is utilised with regularity, albeit contorted in a manner that fits the eerie musical backdrop. Instrumentally, Growth Without End
takes the blueprint of The Mother of Virtues
and runs with it, only now sporting an edge of cohesion. Schizophrenic, shape-shifting riffs work in tandem with the incredibly dextrous drumming, the latter of which can occasionally come across as just one fill after another, but repeated listens unsheathe a scrupulous level of attention to detail.
No longer do the songs operate under a veil of discordance to mask their flaws but instead utilise said discordance to enhance the experience. Pyrrhon’s long-time association with producer Colin Marston has always paid dividends, and Growth Without End
is able to breathe unimpeded as ever, thanks to Colin’s excellent mastering, which compliments the arrangements. Album closer “Turing’s Revenge” is the most clear-cut example of the band’s sense of balance between unity and disarray. Beginning with a flourish of hacksawed riffs, the track steadily dissolves into a nebulous cloud and allows the leads to take centre stage, before concluding upon the same set of motifs that duly opened it. Contrast this with the EP’s centrepiece “The Mass”, which has the same bookended configuration as the aforementioned track, but the structural decay and subsequent reassembly is more abrupt that it is incremental. Whichever the approach, Pyrrhon consistently exhibit poise and self-assurance, and following what was ultimately a dip in form for the New Yorkers, Growth Without End
has comfortably reaffirmed their song-writing prowess.
The direction that Pyrrhon take from here onward will be a fascinating one, assuming they continue to recognise and exploit their strengths without letting gaudy experimentation curtail their judgement. Without trying to sound platitudinous, Growth Without End’s
title is – whether intentionally or not – apt, foreshadowing works of a much grander scale but casting the pathway to success in an ambiguous light. Regardless, this EP’s content bodes well for all.