Published Mar 28, 2014On Pyrrhon's second full-length, the songs are dense and might overwhelm on first listen, but each part is distinct and present in the mix. Blast beats lay the groundwork for squealing, discordant guitar leads. Erik Malave's bass work fills out the cacophony, adding a kind of taut, rubbery texture to the low end that's as supportive of the overall sound as it is independent of it. The Mother of Virtues is extreme from the start, but the lyrical theme of urban malaise doesn't really connect musically until "Balkanized," on which Alex Cohen's drums skitter like train cars riding across the rails. A subway platform becomes a dividing line, cutting through the city, isolating people rather than linking them. Doug Moore's screamed refrain, "It's not personal!" drives the point home and issues the kind of shock you'd get from touching the third rail.
Album centrepiece "Eternity in a Breath" follows, and builds slowly before hitting a Swans-style lurch. Moore takes the homage further by going Full Gira with his vocal performance. The Mother of Virtues is an ugly menace. It's an intelligent, beautifully written slab of bleakness. (Relapse)