I’ve got a confession to make – I’ve never really understood EPs in Metal. On paper I can see the value of a short, sample-length exploration of a band’s sound, but Metal is such a grandiose, overblown and thoroughly unsubtle discipline that it seems to demand nothing less than albums to sprawl across. Double albums. Surely forcing any band who aren’t Slayer to record less than thirty minutes of material is restricting their creativity and turning them into a boy-band?
Following up their 2014’s staggering Mother Of Virtues (Relapse) – which, in a just world, would have topped a lot more Album Of The Year lists than it did – Growth Without End (Handshake Inc.) develops their distinctive blend of abstract Death Metal, Starkweather-style Hardcore and early Dillinger Escape Plan by sharpening it down to a razor-sharp point.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Growth Without End is how it seems to squeeze all the depth and scope of Mother Of Virtues into a fraction of the running time. It lasts for under twenty minutes, but leaves you feeling like you’ve endured an album’s worth of beating. It’s as if – crude journalistic analogy alert – they’ve trimmed all of the fat from their compositions, leaving behind exactly what they need to make their point and not a second of indulgence. The economy and directness of the best Grind married to Pyrrhon’s range of influences and moods to make one of the most simultaneously focused and diverse Metal records you’ll hear this year.
Last year, vocalist Doug Moore went to lengths to discuss why the band should not be described as “freeform”, and though it was intended as a compliment to the band’s unpredictable and unconventional song-structures, Growth Without End can help you to understand why – there is not a moment on here that is not utterly deliberate and precise, rehearsed to the point of almost inhuman tightness.
Pyrrhon are – with absolutely no hyperbole – one of the most exciting Extreme Metal bands in the world right now, and Growth Without End is both the perfect next step for their existing fans and an excellent introduction for the uninitiated.
Genuinely recommended without reservation.