Bizarre force Qrixkuor unleash mind-testing death journey into weird mire on ‘Poison Palinopsia’

Operating in mystery can be frustrating or exhilarating in your music, depending on where you come from as a listener. As a writer, it can give you something on which to dig your teeth a little deeper because you’re not necessarily bound to a philosophy or set of themes, so you can delve into the art in a different means so that you can gleam some of your own meaning.

Multi-international force Qrixkuor, named after a bird from Kenneth Grant’s 1997 book Against the Light, unleash “Poison Palinopsia,” a record engorged with occult leanings and outright strangeness that are packed into two epic-length tracks. They aren’t directing you to specific topics, they’re not commenting explicitly on the state of the world, and it’s easy to just simmer in their thunderous gloom and let that shape your own journey. Its members—vocalist/guitarist S, bassist VK, drummer DNH—populate other bands such as Temple Nightside, Grave Miasma, Vassafor and plenty others, but here they focus on truly dark death metal that soars into the deepest caverns, travels through madness, and tests your will as you take on this mentally ravaging experience.

“Serpentine Susurrus – Mother’s Abomination” starts things off, running 24:11 and basking in sound beams before strange growls and mind-altering playing make your blood race. Guitars soars and twist as your psyche is squeezed, chaos swirls, and animalistic shrieks do damage to your mind. The playing keeps rounding back, assaulting your guts, and the guitars start fires they’re not necessarily keen to control before things take a doomy turn. Smoke thickens, the drums break through the earth, and the playing begins to smother, pairing up with the mangling growls. Everything builds into a weird fury, the drums turn stone to dust, and the intensity spikes before the track melts away.

“Recrudescent Malevolence – Mother’s Illumination” is the closer and the longest of the two, running 24:31 and starting in a strange haze with synth clouds and eerie sound warps. Melodies slowly melt, taking on a plodding pace that’s nevertheless heavy as hell. The pressure builds as the vocals get nastier, the leads charge, and the playing just melts, rumbling in echo. Orchestral synth sweeps hard, the hellish tones get dizzying and brutal, and the growls begin to kill as the punishment heavily crumbles. The playing shifts to slurry and strange, cavernous pounding penetrates, and the power overwhelms the senses, mixing into synth weirdness before the final moments bend to warped hell.

Taking the plunge into “Poison Palinopsia” is not something to be taken lightly as it’s not a collection of songs you’re encountering, it’s a full-fledged psychological experience. Qrixkuor are not opening a portal into sinister sounds that any other death metal band could own and operate. This is a full commitment to the void, a trip through the unseen that might be unmanageable for some, intimidating for others, but something that’ll leave its mark long after you’ve left its warped kingdom.

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