Pyre hails from St Petersburg, Russia and they have been around since 2011. Their new full-length album “Chained to Ossuaries” drops six years after Human Hecatomb, released in 2014. They released a few splits between albums with Swedish heavy hitters Interment and Swedish / Chilean Black Thrash maniacs Corpsehammer.
Before I get into the album, I want to talk about Swedish Death Metal. Yes, I know you know it – Peaveys, Boss HM2s, the Sunlight Studios chainsaw, we are all familiar with it. In some ways, Swedish Death Metal is a cheeseburger – bands are not going to reinvent the wheel too much when they consciously commit to that tone. That’s a bad thing to some metal fans, that’s a beautiful thing to many others. I’ve had great cheeseburgers, a lot of good and decent ones, and surprisingly very few bad ones. It’s hard to fuck up a cheeseburger too badly. The same can be said for this particular sound, you know what you’re going to get, and when you crave it, it hits the spot. That’s the case with Pyre.
To my ears, Pyre are huge fans of Unleashed, there’s a foundation here that owes a lot to Johnny and company. That’s not to say Pyre is cooking Unleashed cheeseburgers. They are cooking their own concoction here. The vocals have a Martin Van Drunnen quality to them, and to me modern contemporaries would be Bastard Priest, and Revolting – Paganizer is just a bit faster. All I’m trying to say is Pyre do what they do well, they are in good company.
The songs standout from one another nicely, the Hardcore/Punk/D-beat energy is there, but Pyre brings attention to dynamics and pacing all of their own. There are many catchy tremolo riffs throughout the whole album, along with mid-tempo doomy sections that stand out and show Pyre’s maturity and tightness as a band. The title track is a perfect example of all of this and includes a nice lead melody that creeps up and adorns the rotting trudging zombie this track is at times.
“Ornament of Bones” is another standout track, it kicks off with a slow doomy riff, a nice solo intro, the chainsaw madness kicks off, and you’re greeted with a dive bomb. Before too long a memorable chorus comes in and just grabs you. By the 3rd track I thought this album was a good cheeseburger, by this fifth track it becomes a great cheeseburger.
As the album progresses Pyre continues to deliver brutal, convincing, and memorable bludgeoning songs. “Crown of Death” and “Antae to the Nothingness” stand out along with the other aforementioned tracks. As you listen to the whole album (and if you like death metal I hope you do) what you’ll find are moments of experimentation that show a band confident in what they are doing. Check out the last minute of “Antae to the Nothingness” for that.
Russia has a lot of metal bands waiting to be discovered, Pyre is a good example of what the Russian scene has to offer. Have you heard good Swedish death metal before? Sure you have. Have you had a good cheeseburger before? I hope so, or this review is fucking pointless. If you have, are you going to turn down another good cheeseburger today because you may have had some great ones in the past? I hope not, you’ll be missing out on an interesting take of a familiar formula. (International Acrobat)