The word ‘pyra’ comes from ‘wood-pyramid’ when referring to a pile of wood, like a (funeral / sacrificial / tribunal / burial) pyre. English-speaking folks might have known that, but in case you did not (yet), here you are… Purification through fire, or something…
‘pyra’ is also the name of a young Italian project, formed in 2020 by guitarist Irene ‘I’ Brazzolotto and bass / guitar player / vocalist Lorenza ‘L’ De Rossi (both of them also known from thrashing Death Metal act Psychotomy; are they still alive actually?) (and several other bands, by the way). They wrote some stuff as from then on, and in 2022, they were joined by drummer Emanuele ‘E’ Prandoni (the guy behind Anamnesi, also currently or previously involved with e.g. Vultur, Malauriu, Simulacro, Grind Zero or Dawn Of A Dark Age). But shortly before, Pyra were able to record and finish their debut-EP with assistance of (session) drummer Omega, whom you might know from e.g. Frostmoon Eclipse, Fides Inversa, Liber Null, Acherontas or Darvaza, and man, many others.
The band signed to Flanders’ finest Immortal Frost Productions to have their debut released decently and professionally both digitally and physically. This five-track debut appears on compact-disc edition (jewel-case, which includes an eight-page booklet) and on vinyl (three different formats, once again, with booklet and poster). And no idea about the person behind the (cover) artwork (View From The Coffin???), but it is just stunning!
The EP starts with a chilly intro, called Omen, which is like an ominous (indeed) message to unlock the passage’s portal of the conscious, towards the primordial essence of the soul, the unexplored spaces of the spirit. A fine introduction to the harshness yet to come.
And that harsh exploitation starts as from Barren Earth Dug. This composition reveals the varied, as well as uncompromising attitude that characterises these Italians. Barren Earth Dug opens simply devastating: with an avalanche of noise: fast-paced strings, thundering drum patterns and, eventually, extremely chasmic voices. These vocals are of the mostly morbid kind, deeply growling and guttural, as if L wants to puke out his lungs, right into the virginal mouth of the innocent listener. This material sounds rude, intolerant, malignant and pyroclastic. It’s the bleakest and most evil form of Blackened / Morbid Death Metal. But hurray, for Pyra have a lot more to offer. After a short while (even-though the listener might have the impression that this devastating warlike sonic attack did last for centuries [which is a fabulous observation]), everything suddenly decelerates, turning the whole skull-crushing into slower regions. The melodious character by the guitar-leads comes with a striking mesmeric touch, while the rumbling drum salvos are controllably efficient. However, soon everything evolves once again into blasting abomination, and another nice details is that this piss, sorry, this piece ends with a short yet purely oppressive Ambient-laden outro.
In A Thousand Different Voices is a next step, for it brings portentous Doom of the most nasty kind. This dismal, funereal ‘song’ (yeah, whatever) breaths disgust and filth. There are so many levels of sonic sickness, with slow-paced excerpts and rattling up-tempo fractions, and even some unique semi-acoustic-alike sections. The start of In A Thousand Different Voices stands in total contrast with the opening sequence of Abandoned Shrines Of Light, like a giant against a dwarf; the latter being a morbific declaration of revulsion and acrimony. Eternal too is such track, based on pernicious melodies (some of the leads are even hypnotic in essence) and a devastating rhythm section. The bass-lines come to their grandiose peak in this song (despite the mix; see next paragraph)
If there’s one point of criticism, it might be the sound-quality. Of course I adore a squalid, contaminated sound when it comes to (most kinds of) Extreme Metal. A catchy and clinical production is like scorn. But the mix of this EP is little too turbid. Okay, this isn’t but my personal opinion (and therefor a subjective given), but as a honest reviewer (don’t you laugh) a cannot but to mention this. Yet then again, this ‘negative remark’, if you want to, is inferior to the opportunities that might follow. I think this Italian formation has a lot to offer, despite a certain, yet neglectable, lack of originality. This untitled (or self-titled, if you want) mini-album shows a potent and auspicious future for sure. Fire up the pyre and embrace the burning corpses, for the ceremony has just begun…
(and just for fun: for fans of e.g. Incantation, Teitanblood, Grave Miasma, Cruciamentum and Necros Christos…)