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Pyrrhon - An excellent servant but a terrible... - 85%

Phuling, January 5th, 2012

From the name Pyrrhon I expected a semi-gory dash of modern grindcore. Not that the word itself has anything to do with gore, but for some reason that’s what I expected. So as New parasite opened up a new world of techy, jazzy and quirky death metal I realized I was quite off base. This is the American lot’s debut album, and judging from it I can say they’ve got a bright future ahead of them, and had they only been signed to Relapse I’m sure they’d been a household name already.

In all reality it’s bloody difficult trying to describe what An excellent servant but a terrible master sounds like. New parasite starts with some dissonant guitar noise before it suddenly unfolds and morphs into full-on brutal death, which shortly breaks down into a hardcore choir breakdown, just as quickly as it goes all-out schizoid with spazzy drum patterns, screwy vocal effects and discordant riffing. And that pretty much sums up my listening experience, but to summarize such a massive album in such a generic way would be a disgrace, ‘cause what Pyrrhon have done here is actually to take technical death metal to a new level.

We’re blessed with the lack of overburdening guitar wanking, like that of Brain Drill, luckily it never reaches the core landscapes, like that of The Red Chord, and what we’re left with is a modern day technical death metal somewhere in between Ulcerate and Gorguts. Add to that a touch of the grindsters of Psychofagist (and hell, why not even a dose of Cephalic Carnage while we’re at it) and I suppose you’ve got somewhat of an idea as to what’s going on. But you’d still be mistaken, ‘cause Pyrrhon manage to pull a fast one on the listener quite a number of times, and you never really know where the hell it’s gonna end up. Idiot circles is a mammoth of heaviness; slow and overpowering, whereas Flesh isolation chamber is a spastic whirlwind of blasting in combination with angstridden sludge (imagine that combination).

An excellent servant but a terrible master is definitely jazz inspired, at least in the drum department. The seamless movement from über-fast blasting to unorthodox drum patterns in all paces imaginable never falters, and the variety is vast. The same goes for the riffing, which offers both brutal and powerful brutal death metal as it spaces out completely with dissonant melodies and discordant noise, but never does it hitch. Vocally it constantly switches character on you; one moment taking on the role of a murderous monster, the next a rampaging lunatic and suddenly some pissed, over-aged hardcore fellow stuck in the 80ies (A terrible master is the best example of the latter). The pitch and style never remains the same for too damn long. And despite the chaotic recipe Pyrrhon pulls it off without a flaw. Instead of spacing out too much, going all-out technical (which after a while becomes bloody tedious to listen to, albeit you might find it cool to begin with), they’ve paced themselves enough to deliver an album filled to the rim with quirky and jazzy technical death metal, finding pretty much the perfect balance between technicality and progression. Not a bad start for this band, and they’re definitely a contender for the throne.

Originally written for My Last Chapter