Pyrrhon – The Mother of Virtues (Relapse)

Monday, 17th March 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

The old Nuclear Blast slogan of “music to mangle your mind” is an apt description of the sonic dismay on display on Pyrrhon’s second release (and first for Relapse Records), The Mother of Virtues.  The cover alone provides for a schizophrenic visual of the madness about to hit your ears. Hit play and prepare to go bonkers.

While there are definite similarities amongst the “weird death metal” crowd, Pyrrhon are essentially walking their own walk here, a commendable statement for a band in this day and age.  Take some of the noise-making ability of Today is the Day and Brutal Truth, the unsettling atmosphere of Portal and Aevangelist (minus the horror aspects), the off-kilter riffing of Gorguts and Artificial Brain, and add a pinch of psychedelia and you may be able to begin to imagine Pyrrhon’s sound.  Colin Marston’s stamp is all over this album as well; along with the recording of Ryan Jones, they’ve really focused in on what makes Pyrrhon tick.

Able to succinctly switch from a doomy crawl to spastic and frenetic in a mere heartbeat, it’s actually the album’s unpredictability that holds it together.  A calculated version of chaos, Pyrrhon easily hold their own straddling the line between structure and disorder with the knowledge of exactly how they’d like the pieces to fall.  From the psychedelic and doomy title-track with explosive bursts, to the primal aggression of “White Flag,” to the eerily melodic opening of “Eternity in a Breath” that builds and spirals, you may never be able to predict what surprises lay around each corner.

Densely packed and cerebral, The Mother of Virtues is not for a casual listen here and there.  Capturing and commanding your attention from start to finish, its abrasion will linger on with you after it comes to a close.

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