It seems that the death metal scene of 2016 is dominated by bands that emphasize strange, dissonant, and occasionally cavernous music. The legions of groups playing this style draw considerable influence from their forefathers in Immolation and Incantation (among others), but still usually do a decent job of carving their own niche and avoiding being predictable. Voidspawn is no different in this respect. While many of their peers achieve dissonance via strange or incompatible chord progressions and spacey atmospherics, Voidspawn takes things in a different direction (though they definitely use those abstract intervals as well). This band achieves much of its dissonance by letting notes ring out, despite being completely drenched in distortion. They’re obviously not the first band to do this, but in the current scene, they stand out for using this sound fairly consistently, as demonstrated constantly on the opening song “Sisyphean Ideation”.
Of course, there’s more to Voidspawn than simply letting notes ring beyond their expected lifespan. The album features plenty of downtuned, crushing riffs that will obliterate the mind. Additionally, the vocals are monolithic and provide more than sufficient brutality, despite being somewhat back in the mix. The production as a whole occasionally feels distant. The guitars dominate the other instruments (a welcome change from most records where drums are the domineering force), meaning that it will never be difficult to discern the riffs being played, but every other instrument is less prominent. Voidspawn also tends to mix up the tempos fairly often. The general speed of the record is obviously high, but they aren’t afraid to go into a doomy passage, or even pull out some longer chords in between more chaotic riffing.
“Pyrrhic” is a relatively short experience, as it just barely cracks 13 minutes. It might be difficult for a band to build an identity for themselves in such a short time, but Voidspawn has pulled it off. This EP has plenty of variety, but still has a distinctive sound, while staying true to what so many people love about death metal. This release certainly isn’t a crowning achievement in terms of memorability, but this type of death metal rarely is. On the whole, Voidspawn will more than satisfy any cravings you might have for dark dissonant death metal, and the fact that they can do it in such a short timespan is a testament to how truly talented the band is!
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4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott