Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: Pyrexia - Feast of Iniquity

Pyrexia are one of the best kept secrets of New York death metal, they've been thriving in the underground since 1990 and have recently been resurrected after a ten year hiatus. Their debut release in 1993, Sermon of Mockery, is still today an underrated brutal death metal classic. With a line-up change log as long as your arm, the four piece group reformed after having laid dormant since 1997 (lets not count the Catastrophic releases); their slumber subsequently following the flop of their generic second release, System of the Animal. The 2007 comeback deliverance, Age of the Wicked, proved to be groundbreaking for Pyrexia as they showcased new vocal talent that was accompanied by a revitalized sound, and the band have been going strong ever since. This Fall marks their fourth full-length release, is Feast of Iniquity worth receiving the hype that's surrounding it?

Genre: Brutal Death Metal, Death/Groove Metal
Release Date: October 29th, 2013
  1. The Pendulum
  2. Infliction
  3. Death Wish
  4. Cocoon of Shame
  5. Cryptic Summoning
  6. Thy Minion
  7. Wheel of Impunity
  8. Panzer Tank Lobotomy
  9. Born of Jackal
  10. The Feast
Total Playtime: 29 minutes, 47 seconds





Rating: 9.5/10






Pyrexia are one of the best kept secrets of New York death metal, they've been thriving in the underground since 1990 and have recently been resurrected after a ten year hiatus. Their debut release in 1993, Sermon of Mockery, is still today an underrated brutal death metal classic. With a line-up change log as long as your arm, the four piece group reformed after having laid dormant since 1997 (lets not count the Catastrophic releases); their slumber subsequently following the flop of their generic second release, System of the Animal. The 2007 comeback deliverance, Age of the Wicked, proved to be groundbreaking for Pyrexia as they showcased new vocal talent that was accompanied by a revitalized sound, and the band have been going strong ever since. This Fall marks their fourth full-length release, is Feast of Iniquity worth receiving the hype that's surrounding it?

If you're thinking that cover art looks familiar, you're completely right. The album art was done by the one and only legendary Toshihiro Egawa, the same guy responsible for the visual massacres on the latest albums from bands such as Deeds of Flesh, Defeated Sanity, Cryptopsy, Abigail Williams, Krisiun, Devourment and many more, as well as he is the artist for Pyrexia's previous endeavor Age of the Wicked. In this case, the album art explicitly details the overall feeling of the album; in that it's a demonic dystopia filled with winding branches and unexpected twists all along the course of ten insane tracks. 

"The Pendulum" sets the overtone for the entire album within a mere twenty seconds of its beginning, the listener is filled with an eerie, depraved sense of immorality and then the vocals come into play to endorse this aura. There is a mild old school death metal ambiance that lingers throughout most of the material, this is brought on by the audible confinements of the production quality presented as well as the rare vocal echo effects that sneaks its way into a couple of tracks. Vocalist Eric Shute makes his way back for a second time in this release, his first appearance being in Age of the Wicked. His vocals are just as enunciated and impressionable this time around as they were in the previous release, if not more so. Eric manages to keep the vocal track stimulating with horrific death metal growls that find themselves layered at times with both a high and low track. At times he throws caution to the wind and boldly experiments with slightly cleaner and more melodic fragments, but never without fully recovering with the bellowing death metal growls fans of the genre love. Audiences will find themselves confronted with pit-enticing chants, such as in "Death Wish" and "Thy Minion", and a plethora of lyrical lines that they will want to growl along with. 


The drums are, by far, the most malevolent feature on Feast of Iniquity. The listener will never find their ears lead by the same beat for more than twenty seconds as they're ferried across the raging audible River Styx by an unending overflow of gifted, stimulating pulsations and arrangements. Doug Bohn undoubtedly showcases his best drumming work since Suffocation's Pierced from Within album. In a metal genre that's absurdly heavy with boring blast beats, Doug doesn't even pull them out for filler content; instead he makes bold use of his tom-toms and snares to spawn rich marching beats, thrilling double bass segments, rolls that never miss a beat, snare pummels and so much more. The drum material shown on this album definitively proves that he's an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and one of the best active drummers in the death metal scene at this time. Dave Culross, the new/returned Suffocation drummer, also dropped in for a bit on the drum work, though it's uncertain at this point exactly what he contributed to the material.

Upon the resurrection of Pyrexia, this time around the guitar find itself infused with the wiggling string bends that made Sermon of Mockery what it was. The distortion is also back and at an all time high with the grittiest, most sinister tone that drips from every fret and chord played. The entire grounding of the content comes directly from the guitar riffs, which are fiendishly memorable. While most modern death metal albums are in-your-face about the guitar hooks, these compositions lay masked under the onslaught of drumming patterns that line the background like an ever twisting landscape. Since the drum patterns change so consistently, this allows for the guitar to rest on the same riffs time and time again to create verse and chorus structures without ever becoming stale or uninteresting; in fact they seem to grow stronger with each listen. The palm muting throughout the material is bone grinding, while the string bends keep the progressions entertaining; guitarist Chris Basile also adds in demoniac solos that leave out ear candy technical guitar jargon and instead stick straight and true to the purest of death metal forms.

The entirety of Feast of Iniquity takes the listener on unexpected twists and turns, through the maniacal abrupt guitar rests and backing pounding drums in "Cryptic Summoning" to the satanic backwards spin at the introduction of "Thy Minion". Not only this, but the content is a roller coaster of smoothly fluctuating tempos; where there are the few tracks like "Death Wish" that are doomishly groovy, the material makes up for it with a polar opposite as the menacingly fast "Wheel of Impunity". The album is a joyous celebration of death metal at its ultimate best up until the ride careens to a stop at "Panzer Tank Lobotomy". At this point, the fun is over and you're kicked out of the theme park on your ass and on top of it all some bitch stole your fucking ice cream. "Panzer Tank Lobotomy" is a near deathcore style track that is shockingly out of place, shocking enough to be the only cause to rip away the extra five points from this review like an undeserved patch on a battle jacket. The album is a solid ten up until this point, but the aforesaid track is generically appalling in every way imaginable. If you can recover, maybe during a second play through after you've had enough time to pick yourself up off the floor and brace yourself to press the 'skip' button come the eighth track, you'll still find yourself greatly enjoying the final two songs.

Feast of Iniquity is definable as "Album of the Year" material, and it is certainly one of the greatest death metal albums of 2013. The drums, vocals and guitar all come together to equally make this content some of the most original ever heard. The listener will travel through demonic realms where unending drum patterns paint the landscape and the crunchy, haunting guitar work makes up the battle hymns, all the while as the vocals rage on in a violent storm of vehemence. Do not let this one pass you by, you have been warned!

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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