I’m in two minds about this. There are moments when the it’s just regular death metal and it’s pretty much a case of ‘nothing new here’ but pretty good nonetheless, then Pyrrhon go all Mr. Bungle on you and that’s when it can get interesting because you have no idea what’ll be coming next, however it can also lose you here when they try too hard to be different. As I’ve never listened to their first two albums I can’t say whether this is a change of form or a new direction they’ve headed in. Either way, this New York City quartet are throwing out some pretty interesting stuff, with interesting if not profound lyrics to go with it.
Opening track “The Oracle of Nassau” is a minute and a half of intense blasting, false harmonics and Doug Moore’s vocals swapping between guttural roars and higher pitched rasps. It also contains the only profanity on the album, glad they got that out of the way early.
Clocking in just shy of 10 minutes “White Flag” starts with a rumbling and buzzing bass played by Erik Malave that resonates throughout the entire song. Dylan DiLella’s guitar squeals and squawks creating white noise over and under the simple time keeping by Alex Cohen as he slowly taps his cymbals and snare. All of a sudden there’s a blasting of drums and guitar forcing the vocals to up their volume before everything dies down to a whisper then claws its way back up to a crescendo.
The “Sleeper Agent” still has the same bass rumbling, however this time the drumming and guitars are little more manic with the vocals hitting the occasional screech to go with the low growls as an added dynamic.
Long slow drawn out growls build into clipped quickly spat out vocals on “Balkanized” as the ponderous drumming kicks it up a notch dragging the guitars with them, but only for a short while before it drops back down to lumber it’s way to the end of the song.
Opening with light and airy guitar picking “Eternity in a Breath” still has a bit of an eerie quality, possibly owing to the notes always ending out of key making it rather discordant. At about the halfway point it comes to a complete standstill before very, very slowing working its way back to a crawl as the draws to a close.
“Implant Fever” is one of the better tracks on the album, as it has a decent pace and some great hooks as it tears you up from the inside with what is quite possibly the only lead break on the album.
If it weren’t for the guitars trying their best to be a wall of distorted sound on “Invisible Injury” and allowing the actual riff to bleed through, it might be slightly easier to listen to, but would probably fail to convey the auditory psychosis taking place.
Probably my favourite track is “The Parasite in Winter” as its nonstop mayhem from the jazzy rhythm and buzzy bass to the frantic wheedling of notes from the guitar.
Title track “The Mother of Virtues” is also the longest track with the most bizarre arrangement, but somehow it works as it degenerates into chaotic screaming, shouting and guitar flailing.
As a complete aside, once I’d finished writing this I am now listening to their first records on the link below, and must say it’s just as as interesting an experience.
(5/10 – Marco Gaminara)