Unholy Requiem



by blou52 USER (23 Reviews)
April 13th, 2020 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An unoriginal brutal death metal album lacking in nearly every aspect

Upon visual inspection of Unholy Requiem, the album appears to be a standard brutal death metal album. Featuring well made cover art by the artist Daemorph, Unholy Requiem makes a good first impression. When seeing quality cover art, one would expect a similar level of care would be put into the music contained inside. Disappointingly for all those tricked into listening to this album, the music comes nowhere close to meeting these expectations.

The first time I heard Unholy Requiem, I had to check my headphones to verify they were properly connected. Going against the standard convention of mixing the vocals to the centre of the soundstage, band leader Chris Basile relegated all vocals to the left half of the soundstage. Compounding the bizarre choice of vocal position is the vocal performance itself. Vocalist James Beach’s performance offers scant reason to listen to the album. Whether devised by mastermind Basile or the vocalist himself, the bland and generic style achieves the effect of recreating the sound of a live vocalist cupping the mic. Unsurprisingly, the vocals sound forced and lack clarity. The listener can tell that Beach is saying something, but the diction keeps the exact words imperceptible. Like other facets of the album, similar vocals would be easier to find on early demos of a band, not full-length albums on longstanding labels.

Unfortunately, the guitars and drums share a similar fate. The guitars lack the depth and impact that many good brutal death metal albums aim to create, so we’re left with a thin and underwhelming tone. In addition, the guitars are also shifted from the centre of the mix. More specifically, each guitar feels like it's coming from one ear, rather than blending into a cohesive whole. On a less negative note, the drums, while not exceptional, are not any worse sounding than can be found on the majority of modern brutal death metal albums. What’s truly baffling is how this mess of a production job came to be. Chris Basile performed all the recording duties on the previous two Pyrexia albums, and neither album sounded as dreadful as this one. Keep in mind, Chris Basile co-authored a book on using Pro-tools for music production. The ineptitude displayed here is astounding.

Assuming you managed to look past the production, you wouldn’t see very far thanks to the shallow songwriting and instrumentation. Uninspired and seemingly passionless songwriting dominates Unholy Requiem. However, that's not to say there are no redeeming parts to the album. The final track on the album, “Moment of Violence”, is enjoyable for a significant portion of the track’s duration. In fact, “Moment of Violence” contains one of the rare instances where we are allowed to hear the bass guitar, albeit faintly and far to the right side of the soundstage. Alas, for every enjoyable moment in the album, there’s a flaw to be discovered. A clear example of this can be heard at around 2:25 in the sixth track, where an audible skip or glitch in the song is present. Despite this glitch being a minor mistake, it’s disappointing to hear an entirely avoidable mistake on what is supposed to be a finished album.

Technical problems aside, the playing itself is as competent as needed for the music. Unholy Requiem implements a groove-laden style in multiple songs. Luckily for Pyrexia, this style is not particularly technical or challenging to play, so the songs can be executed successfully. As a direct result of the simplistic playing, the songs can blend together quickly and fail to be memorable. Furthering the absence of memorable songs is the absence of variety. The album has three types of riffs at its disposal: groovy, headbanging, or fast. All of these can be combined and executed well, but with the apparent lack of passion and effort instilled in the album, high quality riffs fail to materialize. Even if the production wasn’t in the embarrasing state it is, the album would still not be worth listening to.

While many brutal death metal bands decide to cater to or write their songs to please fans of a specific sound, Pyrexia decided to forgo this writing style. The album exists outside any definite style, and rather than appealing to fans of multiple styles, it manages to appeal to none of them. Consistently and utterly boring songwriting will keep most listeners from even finishing the album. Aside from die-hard fans of groovy riffs, Unholy Requiem will have a hard time finding its way into the hearts and collections of listeners.

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user ratings (15)

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 13th 2020


Album Rating: 2.0

I almost hope this album becomes forgotten by the ages, only resurrected when someone checks the rest of Pyrexia's discography to see if it's as good as Sermon of Mockery

Contributing Reviewer
April 14th 2020


Album Rating: 2.0

pos’d we need more bdm reviews around these parts. And ye the album art is wasted on this

April 14th 2020


Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks, and I agree. I've been thinking Sput's lacking in brutality lately. Now that I have the time and motivation, I'll be working on fixing that

April 14th 2020


Review Summary: An unoriginal brutal death metal album lacking in nearly every aspect

highly, highly redundant statement

quite sure this band's debut is the only worthwhile thing theyve ever made. havent heard it in a hot minute tho, should recheck sometime

April 15th 2020


Album Rating: 2.0

Well, you're not wrong about their first being their best. Their other two aren't worth checking unless you're REALLY hurting for new bdm

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