Review Summary: A stitch in time…
Perspective shapes our preferences and understanding. When havoc and dissent become second nature, there’s a real question as to what would define “normal” among those who seek out dissonance, contrast, and turmoil. It’s this sort of person or group that is met with differing levels of criticism, often misunderstood or discarded without a second thought. From this point of view, what’s considered “normal” comes down to a point of view. When you take an Amazonian tribal woman to New York, her view of the world becomes instantly foreign, unnatural and about as far from normal as one could imagine. It’s these differences in perception and values that allow those who push against the perceived norm to be treated with hesitation, avoidance and even mistrust. In this case Pyrrhon, for better or worse, has always been an act that takes a perceived boundary, smashing the perceptions of what a particular style of music should sound like. However, Pyrrhon failed to really
start turning heads until their sophomore record, The Mother of Virtues
which showcased a band in the midst of irreverent, discordant beauty. Since then, Pyrrhon has taken their craft, molded it and twisted it: like smoke unfurling upwards unto oblivion. The smoke remains familiar to itself—but never quite identical ever again.
More recently, Pyrrhon’s What Passes For Survival
became a bridge between the worlds of adjacently-born technical freneticism and unbridled outta the ***ing
window compositions that left just as many sour grimaces as stupid grins on the faces of their fans. Still, What Passes For Survival
offered a unique insight into where the band could possibly move forward, explore and cultivate. Comparatively, it’s hard to stack this against anything other than the band’s previous records. Where The Mother of Virtues
was out of the blue for most die hard death metal fans (please forgive this brave hyperbole), the abrasive blending of genres took a staple of Gorguts and warped it to an unspecified extreme. In turn, What Passes For Survival
became an understatement to what came before it, given to a world of not-yet-achieved greatness in the form of musical insanity with attempted given focus.
The album’s title track saunters feedback-laced schizophrenia with earthy bass rumbles that showcase a world of opposites seemingly melts into each other. Even though the track is abrasive, revelling in its downright chaotic nature, it’s the fall back into everything that is What Passes For Survival
that compels familiarity, grasping firmly on the foundations laid bare in a more digestible fashion. In typical Pyrrhon style, the guitar lines lurch back and forth, brought together by an ever-present slap of a snare and bass punch.
“The Lean Years” continues the album’s natural penchant for rambunctious, stop-start musicianship. Doug Moore’s usual, abrasive vocal preamble falls into rhythm, accentuating the punishment, pain and downright random approach the band has when making their music and at times his pained shouts and shrieks sit next to the instrumental dyslexia, without smothering the band’s other half. Abscess Time
however, does find a better strength as the record moves towards its robust belly. The melancholic notes that bleed through the mix of “The Cost Of Living” transform into a doom fed, yet sneakily forward moving track and without knowing it the listener is transported from one end to the other—and almost nine minutes feels like a journey of three, and readily played again. The shorter blasts of “Overwinding” and “Human Capital” feed on the frenzied pacing of the album, snippets into a soul filled with too many ideas and yet, they seem outwardly more straight-forward than the frenzy of the group’s 2017 piece. Even with this in mind it becomes hard to dismiss the pull of the record’s closing moments. Abscess Time
isn’t a straight-forward record, nor is it instantly recognisable in the face of a more conservative crowd. In fact it’s perception falls upon the listener—one that’s ready to fall in love with the chaos, see the natural misgivings and still enjoy themselves regardless. It’s unlikely the band were looking towards the masses for validation of their craft and yet, Abscess Time
is an imperfect marvel of sorts. Clear imperfections highlight the glory found in fleeting moments. Perspective itself is found in deeper, wholesome attitudes—but definitely not for everyone.