I’m not much for putting stock in band names, unless they’re ridiculously cool or ridiculously appropriate. So I would assume Pyres are named thusly due to the trail of such burning monuments left in the wake of their fiery brew of sludge, post-sludge, and doom-sludge. On debut LP Year of Sleep, these Torontonians set fire to the scene with six torches of tone over 40 dominating minutes.
In a time when some of the biggest names in the genre have altered their sound drastically, Pyres keep it fuckin’ heavy, man. No extended prog noodling, no sissy ass vocals. Just a righteous kick in the teeth with a boot covered in the grime of life.
Working off a basis of mountain-moving tone and momentous riffs, Pyres work in some “post”-sludge elements. One gets the feeling that there is a parting of oppressive clouds. Those moments are fleeting however. The calms, those glimpses of peace and beauty are merely the eye of the storm. Inevitably the darkness envelopes the listener once again and pummels their being further into the muck. Both ‘Proximity’ and ‘Deserter’ exhibit these qualities. Building tension and epic riffs weigh on the shoulders amid guitar dynamics. It’s a combination heavy both in sound and heart.
The title track, the longest on the LP, packs everything you want in a sludge tune all into one. Effect-laden guitar intro, pulsing bass, enough cymbal crashing to ruin any party and epic hollered vocals make for an explosive fit of sludgy goodness. Pyres even get flashy with some more technical riffs, punishing doom and earthquaking single note beatings.
I once heard Phil Anselmo say something along the lines of how bands nowadays put their two favourite bands together to create their sound whereas back in the day it was closer to a band’s favourite 10. Pyres use the latter approach. Combining old school Mastodon, Baroness and even Kylesa with the riff mastery of The Sword, and the legendary High on Fire (‘Atlas Cast No Shadow’) Pyres construct a superpowered avalanche of tone and unstoppable riffs. Listening closely one can even hear some similarities to Canadian compatriots Bison B.C., Anciients and Titan. Ok, maybe some Neurosis too.
Piling high the murderous dual guitar attack, bowel shaking bass, sky cracking percussion and a vicious vocal barrage that sounds like a throat dipped in pine tar, rolled in iron filings and set on fire, Year of Sleep burns like a supernova. You have no choice but to get behind the force that is Pyres. Otherwise, get out of the way because they aren’t stopping. Gather ‘round friends. Throw your doubts into the flames and let Pyres do the rest. To quote their facebook page, “Tones brah….tones.”