Pyrrhon
What Passes for Survival


3.0
good

Review

by Claire Q. CONTRIBUTOR (53 Reviews)
August 11th, 2017 | 79 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On the brink of disintegration

Pyrrhon are hell-bent on raising hell, so much is certain; What Passes For Survival is a single-minded pursuit of nothing less than the most irreverent chaos. The remarkably dense mass of instrumentation at breakneck pace initially confounds, then intimidates, then confounds once more. There is no method to this madness, it seems, but What Passes For Survival may be a surefire way to induce madness. Interestingly, the mastering of What Passes For Survival bears significant resemblance to that of Gorguts’ Colored Sands; no doubt this is due to the handiwork of Colin Marston, who has imbued this record with welcome dynamic range.

What Passes For Survival pushes compositional anarchy to its limits, engaging in an extremely loose structuring of its tracks on both a macro and micro level. The impact is left to individual sections of repeating motifs that only very briefly draw back before landing another punch. Within a single cascade of notes come claustrophobically-packed riffs, a whirlwind of snare drums, and a snaking bass focused on adding weight to the synchronized hits. The vocals switch erratically from harsh growls to higher-pitched screeching in a small-scale study of contrast. Indeed, What Passes For Survival often eschews any discernable rhythmic foundation for sheer momentum. The three-track suite of “The Unraveling” is the epitome of such flailing insanity, aiming to whip listeners into submission with a mind-boggling torrent of blast beats and clustered, clashing chords.

The sort of drive that would be satiated by such havoc is likely to be primal, unthinking. The irony of attempting to parse through What Passes For Survival is that it is an entity who would rather resist attempts at being perceived as a gestalt. Its identity hinges on the potency of its every second, the discrete impression of each development. Everything is, however, cemented together by the commonality of unabating dissonance. The risk that the record runs with such an approach is that of sounding fatiguing, monotonous, or both, and this issue is not entirely mitigated. While What Passes For Survival is not exactly prone to predictability in the sense of having repeating progressions, a barrage of near-incomprehensible notes is capable of triggering that same reaction of exhaustion. There is immense technicality in Pyrrhon’s ability to endlessly conjure their breathless spectacles of apocalypse, but this arguably works against them when they forget that breathing is in fact a biological necessity.

Nevertheless, it is to Pyrrhon’s credit that they have more than one trick up their sleeve. “Tennessee” and “Empty Tenement Spirit” are the two curiosities of What Passes For Survival that rely more heavily on empty space than their other peers on the record. “Tennessee” sludges through to drawn-out, tortured screams and feedback-ridden guitars before concluding in an explosive burst, whilst the slogging “Empty Tenement Spirit” is given a generous amount of time to mutate and evolve; the latter, as the closer, is a gripping summation that inserts surprisingly euphonic riffs. The textures of the two are brighter, ever so slightly more harmonious, and they serve as necessary contrasts to the predominating grit and mire. But there is also appeal to be found beyond their function as complimentary pieces; they are arguably the compositional pinnacles of What Passes For Survival by virtue of the greater experimentation taken in their construction.

Whether What Passes For Survival would have benefited from additional slower-paced, more methodical tracks is not an easy question to answer. After all, it is something to be taken at face value for its insanity. Whatever is gleaned from a first impression is likely to remain the same after repeat returns. Things are what they are, and they will be what they will be; in the case of What Passes For Survival, it is nothing more and nothing less than chaos.



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user ratings (88)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Vivisectionist (5)
Nothing short of musical evil and chaos, no moment in this album is safe. The grievous claw marks of...



Comments:Add a Comment 
pjorn
August 11th 2017


4345 Comments


pos'd

also, this has kinda cool album art

Evok
August 11th 2017


7586 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Ive heard good things I doubt I'll hear a 3, but your review is very well written as always and makes a strong case. Pos'd. Gonna jam this tomorrow for sure.

Digging: War (UK) - Come Cross

Chortles
August 11th 2017


21291 Comments


review is metal. pos

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks everyone!



evo, I do hope you'll enjoy this; it kinda fell off for me after repeat listens, but overall it's still a pretty decent record (I might just have a strong preference for certain types of tracks)

Digging: Milanku - De Fragments

Tyler.
August 11th 2017


15419 Comments


Bump

dbizzles
August 11th 2017


12362 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review. Probably going to check this soon. Sound alike I'll either be very hot or very lukewarm on it.

Digging: El-Ahrairah - The Blessing

Evok
August 11th 2017


7586 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

dbizzles ur always very hot you dont need to be on anything

Shadowmire
August 11th 2017


4568 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh this is out? probably aoty

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2017


2991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"There is immense technicality in Pyrrhon’s ability to endlessly conjure their breathless spectacles of apocalypse, but this arguably works against them when they forget that breathing is in fact a biological necessity."



lol great line



I dig this more than you, but really good review.

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

give me two days and i'll change this to a 5

dbizzles
August 11th 2017


12362 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dig this pretty hard on first listen. Curious to see if it wears off. Some songs I could take or leave, but there are some great things going on here. I love the variety in the vocals dept.

ianblxdsoe
August 11th 2017


1896 Comments


i actually listened to a bit of this and didn't hate it be proud of me guys also solid fucking review dude i love how your writing style has developed over time, this is also maaad m/ so pos'd hard

Digging: Antarctigo Vespucci - Love in the Time of E?-?Mail

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2017


817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks man, and this is indeed rather m/

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
August 11th 2017


1472 Comments


I've heard this is amazing and can't wait to spin it

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

trilogique21
August 11th 2017


2124 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wasn't the biggest fan of their last one but i'm def gonna jam this. nice review

GhandhiLion
August 11th 2017


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wait this just released? oh boi, cant wait to get home

Digging: Slab! - Descension

Flugmorph
August 11th 2017


19658 Comments


now what is it?
a 3.0 or a 3.5?!?

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

GhandhiLion
August 11th 2017


2180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

both

Marehelm
August 11th 2017


673 Comments


This sounds fantastic. Doug Moore is a beast.

Archelirion
August 11th 2017


5593 Comments


Excellent review Claire, pos'd ^ ^ Looking forward to checking this one out, the track I jammed yesterday sounded amazing

"euphonic riffs"

nice

Digging: The Body - O God who avenges, shine forth. Rise up, Judge of



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