Release DetailsLABEL Dark Descent
RELEASED ON 10/30/2012
There is a sense that Paroxsihzem has a real knack for riffs in the doom/death style...
There’s something to be said for offering just enough of a twist to stand out, but there’s way more to be said for crafting that twist into high quality tunage. Today’s subject: Toronto’s Paroxsihzem. They join the legions of cavernous, claustrophobic, inhuman death metal bands that have usurped tech death as the sound du jour (or however you say “sound of the four year cycle” in French). Their slight twist is injecting some of black metal’s methods, if not its sound, into their own, and to this end they have nailed a punishing and unrelenting delivery on their eponymous debut. But they have yet to unlock the subtleties of truly developed songwriting, and because of this their ever-so-unique take on a continually saturated style fails to really leave the footprint that it could.
From the dark dampness of Incantation and twitchy Immolation moments to shades of new acts like Ulcerate and even Portal, Paroxsihzem certainly gets what they’re doing. This shit sounds polluted, as breathing in the notes would collapse one’s lungs. Joining this brand of death metal is oodles of would-be-blackened tremolo riffing, often in a lower register. It’s a black metal method, sure, but because the overwhelming impression is still of being drowned in some boiling, poisoning swamp fluid, this never feels like anything but death metal.
The formula works best when the band eschews some of the more generic murkblast material in favor of juxtaposing punchy Immolationisms with low register tremolo work, such as in “Nausea” or “Tsirhcitna Eht.” They likewise find success when they ease up on the gas a bit, as the more mid-tempo work in “Godot” or even the intro attest to. There is a sense that Paroxsihzem has a real knack for riffs in the doom/death style, and more of this would not only be quite welcome, but would serve to add depth and variety to what can be quite the monochromatic album.
All of this said, it is the band’s inability to shape many of their quality ideas and themes into cohesive songs that slightly derail Paroxsihzem. Despite all of these tracks being enjoyable listens while they are playing, the lack of direction or focus in most of them leaves little lasting impression. The aforementioned “Nausea,” a would-be album highlight, is guilty of this, heading off in an unrelated machine gunny and pseudo-breakdowny direction that adds nothing to the proceedings. The closing “Aokigahara” is perhaps the most obviously affected by the band’s inabilities in the songcraft department. Anchored by a killer melody straight out of Close to a World Below, the song spends too much time in dissonant mid-tempo territory, while also beating the main melody into the ground, as if nine minutes was the length that had to be attained to meet the “epic death metal album closer” requirements. Like much of the album, it’s a long way from shabby, but it could have been great.
As a debut, it’s hard to outright damn Paroxsihzem. The band does indeed offer a slight twist on a sound that is quite the hot commodity, and while there is a lot of room for improvement in the area of composition, the attack is already quite honed. For certain dwellers of the murk, this will be enough, for others it will not. The mass surplus of this stuff currently being pumped out renders Paroxsihzem unnecessary for most listeners right now, but it is not hard to envision them conjuring something of true greatness in the future. The elements are all there, they just have to be put in the proper places.