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Pyrrhon - Abscess Time

Abscess Time
by Martin Knap at 17 June 2020, 6:18 PM

PYRRHON are a New York City based outfit that plays Technical Death Metal in the vein of GORGUTS or ARTIFICIAL BRAIN – the weirder sort of Tech Death, so to speak. Their excellent full-length debut “An Excellent Servant but a Terrible Master” came out in 2011 and in total they’ve put out four full-length albums (including the presently reviewed one). I think it’s pretty telling that PYRRHON has been dropped by Relapse Records, who have released their second LP “The Mother of Virtues,” because they were deemed too inaccessible. They were later signed by Willowtip Records, which doesn’t shy away from releasing more “niche” music. And PYRRHON can be pretty wild: their music is build around dissonant, often unhinged guitar playing, complicated drum patterns and sometimes very busy almost jazz-like drumming, a very bleak, disquieting atmosphere and complex song structures. It’s pretty out there even for a genre such as Death Metal.

Abscess Time” has twelve tracks, two of which are trippy interludes or instrumentals. There are three long songs and a couple of medium-length ones, the total playtime is one hour. In case of the one minute long “Teuchnikskreis” I’m not even sure if to count it as a sort of interlude (it has vocals) or a very short song. Things start off rather slowly with the opening song: the beginning is rather skeletal, and the song gets gradually more intense. On “Down at Liberty Ashes” things get quite heated right off the bat and it’s a dizzying maelstorm of tight riffing and drumming.

The Lean Years” is a longer number with considerable compositional complexity: the beginning of the song has quite a nice GORGUTS-eque groove actually, before the song becomes rally slow and heavy. There is a more layered, harmonious section which features distant vocal chants, but after that the song plunges head-on into chaotic sonic madness. The brooding “Cost of Living” has a memorable main motif and the gradual, restrained development of the song is really nicely done. The final, unhinged part hits all the harder thanks to that. The almost nine minutes long closer “Rat King Lifecycle” is also worth mentioning. The song has a super chaotic, face melting start, after a while it mellows out and becomes a somewhat subdued and atmospheric, but the brutal end is like a sudden punch in the gut.

There is a lot to take in on this album: the band combines Tech Death and noise tendencies, at some points they go borderline Brutal Death, at other points the songs are mellow and atmospheric. It’s easy to appreciate what they’re doing, but not so easy to feel some connection to the music. It took me many spins until the album started resonating with me, but now I can say that I find it enjoyable. I’m sure some people will dismiss this as a bit overbearing and self-important, but PYRRHON aren’t gratuitously overwhelming – they can be that, but they can also be restrained. In short, their musicianship is impressive, but their music also has depth and scope, and is enjoyable for a discerning listener.

Memorability: 7
Songwriting: 8
Production: 8
Musicianship: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Abscess Time
2. Down at Liberty Ashes
3. Teuchnikskreis
4. The Lean Years
5. Another Day in Paradise
6. The Cost of Living
7. Overwinding
8. Human Capital
9. Cornered Animal
10. Solastagia
11. The State of Nature
12. Rat King Lifecycle             
Erik Malave - Bass
Dylan DiLella - Guitars
Doug Moore - Vocals
Steve Schwegler - Drums
Record Label: Willowtip Records


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