There was only three-year gap between the previous LP of Pyrexia and their new creation Gravitas Maximus, which will be released in December by deathcore/death metal label Unique Leader Records. So, we must feel ourselves pampered with this pace, because studio albums from Pyrexia aren’t a very frequent phenomenon.
For 31 years of existence these deathsters from New York have produced only six studio albums and one EP. Pyrexia isn’t the major name on the death metal scene, but still they are very respected and well-known in their circles, so it’s doubtful that this record will stay unnoticed. They’ve started to play uncompromisingly heavy brutal death metal, but during their last opuses they have changed their sound to hardcore/groove metal direction, but just slightly, to rearrange them into the realm of alternative metal branches. It’s still familiar death metal, but with some catchy tricks from hardcore, so the sound of Pyrexia can be described as modern and old school at the same time to the delight of BDM traditionalists and the admirers of more groove/thrash sound.
The only surviving member from the first line-up Chris Basile is surrounded by real professionals who know how to generate the team spirit and to enrich the music in harmonic blasts of terror. Sounds absurd, but that’s it, no matter how rambling or brutal Pyrexia sounds, the holistic perception of completeness contributes to every song. Their line-up is a real mess, so many musicians have been through Pyrexia, but the band has never lost its genuine purity of profound comprehension of death metal, Gravitas Maximus is a perfect example of how the band in its own style and historical traits is able to evolve and release classy death metal without compromising the values of this stubborn musical genre.
The guttural expressive voice of their new singer Jim Beach (this is his second record with Pyrexia) is a real jewel of Gravitas Maximus, there’s a lot of his singing, not very melodic, but emotionally overwhelming, like a high-grade instrument. The most groovy songs are “The Day the Earth Shook (Survival of the Fittest)”, “Pawn to King” and “Rule of 2”, but still, this groovy hardcore influence is rather felt in the background. During the slowdowns you can trace some footsteps of atmospheric death metal (“The Day the Earth Shook (Survival of the Fittest”), but “Pawn to King” offers some technical details through deadly guitar solos. Some thrash metal structures add extra speed to this dynamic nightmarish album (“Apostles to the Grave”) and “Bludgeoned by Deformity” reminds of prime time of grindcore madness. The absence of melodic lines doesn’t make this album totally chaotic or tediously monotonous, and the emotional bursts offset this static grinding slaughter. Yes, strangely enough, but Pyrexia have managed to combine the principle of “back to the primitive” with “let’s bomb the modern times”.
The cinematic cover art with apocalyptical city landscapes and good old monsters emphasize this exaggerating emotional mood of the album, almost in a mocking way. It seems like the musicians have a lot of fun in this project, but everything about the music itself and the performance as well is like a sacred deed. And maybe Pyrexia continue mocking us, ‘cause what the hell, 24 minutes of LP, that’s really ridiculous! We want more, unambiguously and unequivocally.
Release date: December 10th, 2021
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