PyogenesisACenturyInTheCurseOfTimeBack in their day, Pyogenesis were a big influential act in the German Metal scene, especially in introducing and popularising gothic metal in the Teutonic realm. Originally from Stuttgart and now based out of Hamburg, the melodic heavy metal outfit, with renowned UK Guitar giant Gizz Butt in the fold, the four piece are set to unleash their first new material since 2002. It might not be a century ago, but a long time between albums can always provide a stumbling block sometimes. Let’s see if time’s curse has got its grip on this band.

Opening up with “Steam, It Paves The Way (The Machine)”, a `spoken sample which has a voice reminiscent of Morgan Freeman leads into a big heavy Teutonic thrash based groove. Pounding rhythm, colossal chugging guitars and raw vocals give an aggressive edge before becoming cleaner and more melodic for the pre-chorus section which builds up to the chorus with a big drum fill run. The chorus is similar to the verse in terms of intensity and when it comes to the instrumental section, melody, harmony and string samples come in before giving way to a heavier metal edge before the thrash groove to return. Keeping it heavy, “A Love Once New Has Grown Old” is thick with groove and some serious fuzzed out sound. Pounding bass and drums, murky riffing and a killer, twisting lead melody played at rapid speed brings the song in. Heavy on bass and drums in the verse, the chorus brings in the heavy sound again with the melodic leads. Vocally it is quite gritty, cleaning up only for the choruses and there are plenty of little lead melody lines scattered across the track which switches between the few styles mentioned above. In all, a real energetic opening two tracks.

“This Won’t Last Forever” has a more anthemic feel to it. Slower, more melodic structuring and cleaner vocals, it is a moderately paced track with a real big sound. An impactful chorus which gives off a ballady-vibe with passionate vocals follows a slowly building verse and lead guitar wise, it favours flow and melody over complexity, making this a refreshing change of pace. “The Best Is Yet To Come” keeps this slow and steady feel. An atmospheric intro with a melodic lead line in the solo leads into a steady groove feel verse with clean vocals. There are plenty of “aah’s” adding to the sing along feel and the bass has a real rich tone to it, but the stand out part of this track is the acoustic section which has a beautiful sound to it. Keeping the more subdued element going, “Lifeless” continues the slow build approach. Sorrowful sounding strings and piano bring the track in before a melodic lead and pounding heavy rhythm kicks in. Reverting back to a cleaner sound for the verse with gritty vocal harmonies, a great bass line and ringing clean guitars, it gives a slight break before it goes back heavy for the chorus for a good impact. The backing vocals get harsher as the song progresses and the lead work keeps the melody first approach before the track finally fades out with a strong sounding solo and strings to wrap it up nicely.

“The Swan King” brings back the heavy groove metal sound. A fantastic drum intro which has a real driving feel to it is joined by some punchy riffs and a catchy lead pattern which has a memorable hook to it. Kicking it all back to life again, it’s a faster paced track. Verse wise, it starts off clean and bright with real melodic vocals and halfway through the chugging guitars come in before the chorus brings back the intro feel. It’s a straight forward track which is minimalistic in structure but massive in impact and effectiveness. “Flesh And Hair” brings back the dramatic feel. A great sounding lead melody with big sounding “Woahs” give it a dramatic edge vocally. This track would sound great live just on the intro alone, and as it progresses further this feeling doesn’t go away. Powerful vocals, a laid back feel and great backing synths give this a grand feel and the female vocal harmonies and vocal parts in the third verse really work well. It’s a great track all round and it really sets up well for the final track of the album.

Title track, “A Century In The Curse Of Time” is the longest track on the album, weighing in at 14 minutes and as you listen to it, it feels like multiple tracks in one as opposed to a single track. Starting off there is a string section again and some clean guitar lines which are accompanied by harmonizing “Yeah” vocals and choir like synths. This steady build continues before it kicks into a more rock-friendly section with a melodic shred solo which wakes you up before returning to the acoustic guitar section once more. Another melodic shred solo which leads into a string section hits once more and when we finally hit the verse near the six minute mark, it feels like a different song. The strings still remain but its clean vocals with a deep, great sounding bass line to give a good effect. Picking up the pace a little, a piano section joins in round the eight minute section, darkening the previously bright sounding mood and another melodic and heavy lead guitar section kicks in, paying the way for a huge distorted section near the ten minute point. By the twelve minute point, it’s transitioned back to the intro of the song, giving it a big ending feel, fading out with the choir and synths once more, closing the album.

Semi-conceptual and steam punk friendly with its lyrics, “A Century In The Curse Of Time” is an intriguing album. Melodic, heavy, expressional, tame and groove laden, it has a good variety and a good sound to it. It may be a little niche with its theme, but if you want some solid metal, give it a go.

(7/10 Fraggle)