PICK OF THE WEEK: Pyrithe launch sludgy, brain-melting attack on challenging debut ‘Monuments…’

Sometimes things get so perversely bad, you have to laugh at the misfortune and catastrophe swirling around your head seemingly at all times. I know that over the past two years alone, I’ve found myself turning to hilarity over torment because sometimes the pain just feels better coming out that way. And because you think you’re possibly on the edge of madness trying to survive.

“Monuments to Impermanence,” the debut mind flayer by Pittsburgh’s Pyrithe, hardly is a comedy album (the fact that real-life trash was used as percussive elements aside, which actually rules), but the band still finds the absurdity of existence in the pit of musical blackness. Trying to pinpoint the band’s sound isn’t very easy as it can change multiple times during a single passage, but sludge, doom, noise, prog, and many other elements are relevant as the band defines its own brand of heaviness. At the band’s core are three key members—drummer/synth player/guitarist/vocalist Kerr (Noltem, formerly of solo project Marsh Dweller), guitarist/synth player Miller, bassist/contrabassist/synth player/vocalist Weston (Cant)—and joining them on this eight-track crash course are former vocalist
Vicky Carbone; vocalist Doug Moore (Pyrrhon, Septus, etc.); Jason Cantu, who plays the actual trash, coconuts, and egg shakers; and Kerr’s Noltem mates Max Johnson on kantele and Shalin Shah on egg shakers. It all makes for a thick, immersive, raw, often indescribable album that gives you the idea from its composition that this band won’t rest and could sound entirely different next record. Who knows?

“Asurviance” starts in a panic, an immediate, mauling assault on the senses that leaves you no time to get your footing as you’re inserted in the middle of the battle. Drums thrash, the guitars boil and scrape, and then a brief calm lets a breeze into the room before you’re back in the vice. The vocals wrench as sludgy pounding grasps your throat, ending in total corrosion. “Glioblastoma” is an absolute motherfucker, Carbone’s desperate initial howl driving the blade deep into your chest before she strangles you the entire run with the musical pace jerking and swelling. Keys hang in the air as the skeletal structure is torn apart and reassembled, the playing keeping the adrenaline coursing and the tension tightening. Echoed cries bounce off walls, massive smashing overwhelms, and everything chimes out into psychosis. Then things turn on a dime with “In Praise of the Enochian Trickster,” a track that feels like a combination of medicine head dreaming and being lost at sea. The playing bobs in the waters, Weston’s clean croon feels like a drunken, yet aware narrator, making you feel calm and uneasy at the same time. Eventually the punches come, and they land, energy pulsating and the guitars dripping morphine. The drums roll back before the pace explodes anew, wild howls swell, and the final drops dissolve into the ground. “Heaving Roots II” bleeds into your consciousness, cymbals crash, and the sounds fold through the clouds, stinging and melting your mind.

“Luminous” opens with a guttural howl and start-stop clashing, cloudy noises flowing and tricking your senses. The yells curdle as the playing develops with a calculated attack, the jolts wreck your ribcage, and the exhaust settles into the atmosphere. “Earthen Anchors” feels like it’s going to go a little easier on you, but it’s a storm developing quickly, and Moore’s distinct shrieks sink their teeth into your cheeks, ripping meat from the bone. The playing bludgeons, feeling muddy and thrashy in sections, guitars leaking into a burgeoning chaos. Moore’s beastly howls unhinge, a crazed fury boils over, and the final embers retreat into reflective light. “Ekphrastik I” lumbers and tests your strength, punishing and opening the gates to repeated blows, the drums speeding toward slaughter. Calmer waters wash into the scene, mesmerizing and sinking into your bloodstream, heading into closer “Ekphrastik II: Gifts of Impermanence” that begins in serenity as it slowly comes to life. An ISIS-style essence looms behind you, howls rip, the guitars sauté, and a synth cloud enveloping and bringing hypnosis. The playing combusts and warps, howls crush, and metal scrapes against metal, twisting your nerve endings, mercilessly teasing you as the final minutes crash and clash in the midst of a trash pit.

Pyrithe is an alien beast that’s fairly impossible to accurately describe because they’re constantly changing, adapting to the environment, getting deadlier and hungrier. Having heard a lot of these songs in formation at their live shows, none of which are even remotely the same, I would imagine the songs on “Monuments to Impermanence” will shapeshift in form and DNA as they move into the live setting. This is a debut record that’ll stand out from so many others because the ideas are fresh, the execution is committed to the madness, and every trip through these propulsive waters is a new experience that reveals layers you didn’t notice all the previous journeys you took. Plus it’ll help you laugh at impending doom even as it consumes you.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Pyrithe

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/