Release DetailsLABEL Crash Music
RELEASED ON 1/27/2004
Cruelty Beyond Submission
posted on 3/2004 By:
Deeply inhaling the scent of Suffocation’s reformation, New York’s Pyrexia have somehow decided to rise again and cash in on death metal’s resurgence. With their highly acclaimed but obviously Suffocation cloned Sermon of Mockery, Pyrexia appeared ready to take the mantle left by Suffocation's demise, but instead released the short hair phase by way of the hardcore laced System of the Animal. So to pave the way for their “comeback” full length album later this year, Crash Music felt it necessary to release a best of/taster combo CD, that begs to ask the question, why? Hardly legendary beyond Sermon, Pyrexia’s showed they were decent Suffocation clones, but their clout declined immeasurably and with this blatant cash in on Suffocation's reunion, Pyrexia only show now are not even that anymore. What we have on Cruelty Beyond Submission is 3 new tracks, three tracks from System of the Animal, three tracks from both Sermon of Mockery and 2 tracks from the Hatred, Anger and Disgust EP.
I should preface this with the fact that I decided to score my review based on the three new tracks, as the other material no doubt has its share of reviews on the web and such you can look up, and to be frank, the new tracks deserve to be kept separate from the Sermon material. Plus, mean scores would have unfairly reflected on the Sermon material as well as be more than generous to the new stuff.
On the three new tracks, it seems Pyrexia are making a concerted effort to shake the Kevin Devito hardcore tough guy vocals regime, with new screamer Erick Shute although still semi hardcore shouty, is a little gnarlier but nowhere near Darryl Wagner’s guttural bellow. Musically the new material seems to be a mix of their tough guy death core chuggery of System and their older Suffocation copying days, but in all honesty, it appears Pyrexia are now a band that the genre has left in its dust. Much like an ol’ ball coach returning to the fray, the players are bigger, faster and stronger than in 1993. Only original member Chris Basile just seems outgunned despite his all new line-up. The first 2 songs “Life Long Hate” and “Ode to Brinn” (with a guest solo from original member Guy Marchais), simply lack any real pulse or immediate impact to warrant interest in the upcoming album. Throw in the short angry surge of “No Apologies" and it's “muthafucka” laced theme of war and revenge, you’d be forgiven for listening to a Hatebreed album instead.
The three tracks from System of the Animal are about as tepid as death metal can be, even for 1995; lifeless drab, grooving base chuggery with “political lyrics”. Of course the infamous anti Farrakhan song “Confrontation” is included along with “Closure” and the title track from that ill fated album. Devito’s vocals simply destroyed this band, as Basile could still come up with decent riffs, but Devito totally turned off the fans with his machismo vocal strutting rather than the pure death growl of former singer Darryl Wagner.
The same can be said for the 2 tracks from the Hatred, Anger and Disgust EP. This 3 song EP was kind of a stop gap that still retained the riffage of Sermon of Mockery, but questionably added Devito’s vocals. The result was still acceptable death metal but you felt the band had left greatness behind instantly.
Now then, those into death metal in 1993 know that with Sermon of Mockery, Pyrexia was indeed mentioned in the same breath as Suffocation, with an identical East Coast sound both in the technical brutality department, crushing breakdowns and ultra low Mullen like vocals. The three songs “Inhumanity", "Resurrection”, and “Sermon of Mockery”, even with re-mastering still sound as menacing as they did eleven years ago, despite the genre evolving and growing as it has done.
Still it’s hard to recommend a CD based on three songs from an album you should already own, that also contains tracks hardly worthy of “greatest hits”, especially considering the downward spiral Pyrexia took and the unimpressive nature of the new material. I suggest you find Sermon of Mockery on eBay or something, as it’s a certifiable, if plagiarized classic. This is one reunion we could probably do without.
I really hope Suffocation and Brutality fare better…
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