Nowadays I see bands being labeled all kinds of weird genres/subgenres that I’d never thought would be a thing. Sometimes they are apt descriptors, and other times they give zero indication. Some are bizarre, yet given the context of the music itself, these labels can somehow make perfect sense; take the hardcore subgenre ‘crust’ into consideration. ‘Crust’ itself doesn’t actually describe anything about the music whatsoever, but once you hear the music itself, its use is perfectly justifiable. Speaking of crust, you’re gonna hear plenty of that on the new Pyrithe album Monuments To Impermanence, just dialed up to eleven and then some.
Pyrithe are an ambitious trio right out of Pittsburgh, and they’re here to bring chaos not only to your ears but also your 2022 AOTY lists with their debut LP Monuments To Impermanence. The trio goes for a similar kind of aesthetic overall to that of The Ocean, but with even more massive paleolithic riffs and an unhealthy amount of discordance à la Ulcerate that could fossilize you in an instant instead of slowly over a long period of time. Take that prog/post-metal recipe that The Ocean are highly regarded for and very generously lather the music in all the filth and muck to create the murkiest concoction you could ever imagine. If biochemical warfare was ever personified through music, this would be it. All that said, Monuments To Impermanence is one of the nastiest records I’ve heard over the past few years.
Regarding Pyrithe, I’ve seen them categorized as ‘experimental sludge’, and despite being familiar with sludge metal, I am still left in the dark as to what to expect from this group. Turns out my prediction was not at all what I thought it’d be, as what Pyrithe bring to the table is some hazardous byproduct waste seeping into the water runoff from some massive factory, ultimately creating this ‘experimental sludge’ that eats away at any and all forms of life; that is Monuments To Impermanence. Not even inorganic structures are safe from this highly caustic slurry, as it’ll rapidly erode everything it touches.
Starting out with “Asurviance”, Monuments To Impermanence makes you feel as if you’re strapped down to something heavy directly behind the roaring engine exhaust of a military-grade jet. From the moment your finger hits that play button, the weight of a thousand worlds pushes against you with no reprieve. It is as disorienting as it possibly can be, and I love how abrasive this opening track is, as it sets the stage for the unmatched chaos that is yet to come. I can see how a track like “Asurviance” would dissuade many people from continuing on with the rest of the record, but Pyrithe know how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
As you progress through the record, you’ll find numerous moments in which you’ll feel like you’re exploring the beauties (or horrors) of the ocean, slowly sinking deeper and deeper until you come to rest at the bottom. It is both tranquil and incredibly eerie and unsettling, especially with how Pyrithe create these asphyxiating atmospheres in the vein of Ulcerate, especially noticeable on “In Praise of the Enochian Trickst”, “Heaving Roots II”, and also the closing “Ekphrastik” suite. The former of these tracks features a swirling synth line that instills a looming sense of fear; fear from the realization that any struggle of mine is futile. There is no escape. The further down you sink in this ocean of gnarly riffs and dizzying percussive flourishes, the more you find all these various sea creatures and bottom feeders attaching onto you as some sort of host. And once you’ve finally made it all the way through Monuments To Impermanence, what is left of your body will resemble exactly what is depicted in the album artwork: an unrecognizable, decomposed mass.
Lead single “Glioblastoma” closes with an instrumental flurry that possesses so much wrath and power that it could move mountains. Despite having moments like this in spades throughout Monuments To Impermanence, you still are met with so many mellower passages that give these immensely dynamic tracks much needed moments of respite. “In Praise of the Enochian Trickst”, “Heaving Roots II”, and “Ekphrastik II – Gifts of Imperman” make time to allow the listener to catch their breath and come to peace with their inevitable demise in these gorgeously haunting soundscapes. Instrumentally, the drummer steals the show for me with bewildering, caustic cymbal work that melts my mind on nearly every track. It is the icing on the cake when it comes to crafting the soundtrack to my bittersweet embrace with death.
Monuments To Impermanence is absolute putridity in musical form, not for the feint of heart with constantly evolving compositions taking you from one sonic hellscape to the next. It does take a few listens for everything to click when it comes to this bands vastly dense sound, as it is very much a ‘you get out what you put in’ kind of record. But I can assure you the effort is well worth it. Once this happens, only then will you recognize and acknowledge the musical genius necessary to birth something as creatively vile as Monuments To Impermanence. I implore you to take the one-way deep dive into this abyssal journey.