Business sucks, and sometimes companies are forced to make decisions based on how much something makes rather than its artistic value. Hence, it seems, why Relapse cut ties with experimental death metal band Pyrrhon after they delivered an almighty great and head-destroying LP “The Mother of Virtues” is because it didn’t “move enough units.” Sad for such a killer band.
But Relapse’s (huge, huge) loss is Handshake Inc.’s gain, as the band has ravaged back with a new EP “Growth Without End” that could be a statement on the band’s standing as a unit or a comment on their constantly morphing sound. And if “Mother” threw you for a loop, get ready to stand there confused as fuck when you hear this astonishing, brain-erasing EP that pushes their game to a new level. Ugh, I hate that statement, but it’s true. The work they do on this killer EP is next level for them. Yeah, the chem lab, dizzying death metal remains a major factor. But they dirty up the machine a bit, add more guttural attitude, and show they are capable of far more than what they’ve already shown. And they’ve shown a ton already.
Your Pyrrhon lineup remains intact, despite the unfortunate label shuffling, with Doug Moore on vocals (and he does he ever turn in a performance here), Dylan DiLella on guitars, Erik Malave (Imperial Triumphant) on bass, and Alex Cohen (Imperial Triumphant, Epistatis) on drums. They definitely morph past what the foursome created on “Mother,” bringing elements of noise rock into the mix, and those who have been along the ride ever since their debut, 2011’s eye-opening “An Excellent Servant But a Terrible Master,” should be pretty excited to hear where the band has gone on this release.
“Cancer Mantra” tears this thing’s shell apart with blistering, mind-bending playing, gurgly growls, and vicious, unpredictable melodies that should shake your innards. The finish is a mixture of fucked up ideas, and then it’s onto very short, but very effective “Forget Yourself,” a song that never makes it to a minute and a half. But during its short life span, it explodes everywhere, spiraling and shaking, with the guitars completely blinding you. “The Mass” starts with cartoon-like playing that is baffling, turning speedy and rubbery as it builds. The track settles for a bit, letting off some steam, and then it goes back into wild howling, spacey soundscapes, and tricky guitar work. “Viral Content” is where things get really bizarre, with the band showing off some of their new, darker shadows and Moore’s vocals bending and twisting in a tortured manner. The song is noisy and loopy, though it slowly builds the tempo, and before you know it, shit’s on fire again. The track sounds pissed and disgusting, and it’s an awfully cool new side to the band. Closer “Turing’s Revenge” has some of those elements as well, but also pits of sludge and mucky death in which to sink. The guitars are smeary, the vocals go from growl to talk singing, the fellows go off into warped land for a bit, and it all concludes with a vicious assault to make sure their point is made and understood.
Sure, having Relapse drop Pyrrhon wasn’t a great development for the band, but clearly they are not letting that hurt them creatively. If anything, perhaps that fueled their fire, as “Growth Without End” is a delirious, fire-breathing effort from a band that’s reigniting the furnace. Wherever the band ends up next, that label is going to get one of the most perplexing, creative death metal bands going, and won’t they be so lucky to have them?
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pyrrhonband
To buy the album, go here: https://handshakeinc.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://handshakeinc.com/