What Passes for Survival by PyrrhonRelease date: August 11, 2017
Label: Throatruiner Records / Willowtip Records
One of the true genre-bending bands in metal today, Pyrrhon, has just released a new album through Willowtip Records called, What Passes for Survival. Imminent psychosis awaits the uninitiated listener of this album.
With elements from technical, grind, progressive, math and death metal in its range of focus, What Passes for Survival is utmost organized disorganization. The oxymoron is warranted for description. What passes of as disorganized, frenetic and loosely-pieced together is a tightly strung, carefully wrought cacophony of riffs and drum sections that work majestically together. Pyrrhon has just written and released one of my favorite metal albums with the technical/math metal genre tags with What Passes for Survival.
The riffs don’t cease completely; they do stop-and-go with considerable syncopation and energy. The drums are of similar nature, stopping and going, blasting and filling-in, playing morphing rhythms that melt faces fully-expecting a technical death metal style with predictable wankery all over the fretboard passing off as technical. This IS technical. It comes across as helter skelter if not listened to intently. The impossible riffs repeat for some fraction of the evolving song structures to help fans understand how the riffs are carefully constructed and not randomly played with studio magic.
What Passes for Survival is a challenging listen, but the band does play melodic riffs, if only done so in a way that is technically-challenging and complex. Each instrument in this album has the impossible task of making an impression on young would-be technical math metallers who want to learn Pyrrhon’s unique style. I didn’t once think that the album was a blow-out of leads and shreds that were devoid of aesthetics. They play mind-melting modern complex music that transcends metal sub-genre tags. Years after the deserved demise of the tech death trend, Pyrrhon shows audiences how the genre would have stayed relevant, if only for the skills and songwriting abilities the band members of Pyrrhon retain, much less for bands that can assume only a fraction of Pyrrhon’s talent and vision.
There could be more words to describe the advancements this band puts into metal of this style, but I confess to stupefaction over this band’s quality of material. Therefore, I confess heartily to being impressed by What Passes for Survival, in spite of my general distaste for modern death metal and its many sub-genres and styles. However, if bands like Pyrrhon each invest originality and skillset into music that is wholly original and authentic, there may not be much room for existing trends to overshadow this style’s preceding ruin. Pyrrhon is brilliant, just say it. Doubters won’t have known how to appreciate good music by doubting an album so brilliant in conception and musicianship.