Pyrrhon - The Mother of Virtues

It’s been a really long time since I’ve been as excited about a technical death metal album as I am about The Mother of Virtues, the second full-length from Brooklyn’s Pyrrhon. If I had to describe the album in one word, it would be labyrinthine; it pushes against the boundaries of tech-death, leading the listener into some very dark, unfamiliar territory.

The thing that really stands out about The Mother of Virtues is the songcraft. Now, I tend to like tech-death, but outstanding musicianship does not always equal good songwriting skills; thus the (frequently valid) criticism that technical death metal songs are nothing more that ‘riff salads,’ with bands cramming as many parts as they can into one song with little regard to how memorable or cohesive the final product may be. Plus, a lot of the new wave of tech-death bands, as a quick survey of the current roster of acts on Unique Leader will attest, tend to sound an awful lot alike. Not so with Pyrrhon. Regardless of how many changes there are or how dense the songs on The Mother of Virtues get, the primary focus of the album seems to have been on writing good songs, and the one thing they effectively utilize (more than most of their contemporaries) is space. Not everything on this album is sweep picking (if fact, I don’t think there’s any sweep picking on this album) and blast beats; there are slower passages, like the suffocatingly creepy-sounding first third of “Eternity in a Breath,” and parts where the instruments drop out altogether, like in the middle of the nearly 10-minute “White Flag.”

Ultimately, the easiest way to describe Pyrrhon is to say that they sound like a cross between Gorguts and Portal, but that’s really only scratching the surface of what makes The Mother of Virtues so compelling. Head over to Pitchfork Advance and give is a listen for yourself, then hop over to the Relapse Records webstore and pre-order the album CD or on 2X bone white vinyl.

And as an added bonus, here’s a pro-shot video of Pyrrhon’s full set from their record release at Trans Pecos in Queens this past Friday night: