For the first few years of brutal death metal’s existence, it was quite interesting. Bands like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, and Pyrexia were able to take what everyone else was doing and turn it up another couple of notches. Somewhere over the years, this feeling of intensity was lost to a mechanical, rhythmic sound that was ultimately very predictable. There are still some decent bands doing that style of music, but nothing beats the original. Proof of that fact is Pyrexia’s new record, “Feast of Iniquity”. This is a death metal album that is both more technical and aggressive than standard death metal, but also far more interesting than the brutal bands of today.
The best example of this is the hard-hitting opener “The Pendulum”. The riffs are straight out of New York’s signature sound, and even bring back hints of other greats like Malevolent Creation. Part of this is attributable to the guitar tone, which still has a bit of thrash feel to it. It gives more room for the guitars to breathe, as they aren’t excessively muted all of the time. This song also shows how slight hints of melody can actually help this style of music. Although melodic elements may not be what many seek in brutal death metal, it is a way to differentiate the songs. Even the use of a guitar solo in “The Pendulum” is welcomed because it once again shifts the energy of the song.
Another element of this record that is welcomed is the drum performance. The easiest way to ruin a death metal record is for it to be nothing but blast beats. Luckily, drummers Dave Culross and Doug Bohn inject a wide variety of rhythms (I can’t find any indication as to who played on which track). They makes full use of all styles of extreme metal drumming, from sections with relenting double bass, to blast beats, to thrashier sections. Perhaps the most impressive moment is near the end of “Infliction”, when the drums go half time and create an absolutely crushing moment when combined with the riffs overtop.
Most of the songs on “Feast of Iniquity” tend to be similar. Some of them deliver better riffs than others (see “Wheel of Impunity” for maximum brutality), but there are no duds. One track that does stand out as a bit strange is “Panzer Tank Lobotomy”. Overall, vocalist Eric Shute’s performance on this album is nothing short of fantastic, but on this song it feels like he holds back the aggression a little bit. I hesitate to call it metalcore, because it’s not, but it has a very similar feel to it. It's not so much what the vocals sound like themselves, but more the attitude he has in the delivery. In general, however, the songs (“Panzer Tank Lobotomy” included) are so short that even when they aren’t moving at a thousand miles a minute, they tend to be over before you know it. This brevity provides a satisfy experience as the record never overstays its welcome, and provides just enough to leave you wanting more. “Feast of Iniquity” is a blueprint of how to create quality death metal in 2013, and fans of the legendary New York death metal bands will continue to worship Pyrexia when they hear this record.
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"Wheel of Impunity"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott