From the rubble of Pyrford House, Brixton rises ‘PYR’. The second full length from South London duo, GHOLD, centres on a now demolished housing estate and site of protests and petitions from locals and residents not happy about seeing their community destroyed in order to make way for apartments they’ll never be able to afford and eating establishments that simply aren’t wanted or needed. It essentially priced out the people who have lived there all their lives and have made Brixton what it is. If you’re a cunt you’ll use phrases such as “up and coming” and/or “gentrification” to describe this despicable act of robbing the poor to feed the rich. As former residents of the Brixton area, this is clearly an issue that’s dear to both Paul and Aleks and the anger surrounding this is palpable on all five songs.
This is without a doubt the least accessible of all of GHOLD’s releases but also the most textured and multi-faceted. In place of primitive pounding, grunts and noise, there are jarring passages of sludgy riffs, drone and reverb, interspersed with grinding instrumentals. Most noticeable of all is the inclusion of a third band member (Oliver Martin) who provides guitars to add yet another layer to an already thick sound, however, the bass guitar is still very much at the forefront in the mix.
This is a challenging listen but more than worth it simply for the churning riffs and discordant melodies created by the bass. It’s also one of the few metal releases that shines a spotlight on the drummer, with the end of ‘CCXX’ allowing Paul to go nuts without accompaniment. For those pondering whether to pick up the vinyl or CD release of ‘PYR’, the answer is simply “get both”. The CD version includes an exclusive extra track ‘Something of Her Old Fire’ which is an indulgent feast of slapped bass beats and huge riffs. While the fat cats are busy squeezing the last of the lifesblood from London, ‘PYR’ inspires anger and, indeed, hope that all is not lost after all.
(8/10 Angela Davey)