26 Aug 2023 - Thorsten
Doom Metal | Black Metal | Cestrum Nocturnum Recordings | Release date: 18 Aug 2023 | Favorite song: The Unending Fire
Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to come up with not only a deeper understanding of things but also a new level of craftsmanship. Dylan Desmond and Zach Wise both usually play the bass in their pretty well-known bands, Bell Witch and Hissing. For Pyrkagion and its debut release The Katechon and the Unending Fire they make that change and the results is more than convincing – its mesmerizing!
Dylan and Zach changed their usual bass guitars for “regular” six-string axes and started to write their version of Black Metal, what they thought modern was lacking in modern Black Metal. What that is? Well, seemingly a somewhat less Western-hemisphere based and orientated version of Black Metal and that includes every Scandinavian and American version of it and also the Slavic versions of Post-Black Metal, so one might even say it’s less Northern-Hemispheric. Their idea of Black Metal is a very ritualistic one but more in a way that one might connect to some Asian or even Himalayan ways. No, they do not use any instruments from that region, there are only drums, guitars, synth on The Katechon and the Unending Fire but the sounds seemingly reflect that region of the world.
Even though one should note that the background to the record is surely not any kind of Asian mythology, even though some sounds and the artwork (done by Bryan Maita) might suggest it. ”The Katechon” is a reference to an original part of the bible and there is means something like ”the one who procrastinates things, who delays things” and it is often associated in theology with the Antichrist. As there will and can be no end of the world, no apocalypse, no judgment day without the arrival of the Antichrist. Many people throw that word into everyday conversation very lightly, “the Antichrist …”, but if we think of many historical figures it has been applied to: Hitler, Stalin, Rasputin, nowadays Putin, Orban or Trump – but none of them has brought about the final fight which will begin in a little town that is called Armageddon (or might be called thus in hindsight). Coming back to the Katechon – he might seem like the one who brings about war, famine, death and pestilence but when we look at it from some abstract perspective – that could also be man in general. We bring about all these things, we try to do everything to prevent certain things from happening just because we do not like their outcome. On another level, the Katechon is not the end of the world – he only might prolong the time until that end starts. He is the beginning of the ending, so to speak. An ignition spark, but not the flames. The flames is our human hate, our wish to control and dominate, to outdo the others. We try to use “the unending fire”, which we have been given by Prometheus (to stick to mythology and theology), in order to achieve our aims. We have distilled that fire and multiplied its power by the millionth just to keep atop of everyone else, even if it might mean our own end. We are the Katechon.
Coming back to the music, we must say that Dylan, Zach and Brennan (Butler, the drummer, known from his work in grindcore-band Human Effluence) have created a record that makes good use of their talents and yet sounds like none of their other bands: this is raw in sound, especially the vocals by Zach and Brennan make use of a lot of echo effects which makes them more spooky; there a lot of moments when the drums lead the sound from one phase into another yet also make room for some melancholic guitar work in the less abrasive passages, when the guitars go up and down the scales; very often the cymbals are used much more like an ignition for another phase while the bass drums and the rest of the kit are used to do all the rhythm work, for even though there are bass guitar lines on this release, most of the work regular done by two people is here delivered by one; the guitars are less distorted but very, very heavy nevertheless, but not in a forceful way, very are just tuned to perfection.
Some might be reminded of a mixture between Trve Scandinavian Black Metal and a form of Pagan Asian Black Metal but if we are honest to ourselves – this EP, these two tracks, these 25 minutes do not need a comparison. We should recognize that this is a very original output, that this also has nothing necessarily to do with the band members’ other bands. And then finally we should also recognize one of the levels which can be applied to “the Katechon” - we ourselves define when the end of all days will come. By our own actions which we can determine ourselves. It must not have this premeditated idea that theology provides us with – because then we very quickly step into the realms of existentialist dread, which must not necessarily be the path we walk on.
This is a very good record to reflect on, to listen to and to enjoy. New perspectives galore!