Pyrexia – Unholy Requiem
Reviewed: November, 2018
Released: 2018, Unique Leader Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The phrase “Return to Form” is one of the most hacky statements you can make when reviewing a record, but then again, I’ve never be mistaken for an English Lit major. But instead of calling UNHOLY REQUIEM a “return to form” for Pyrexia, I’ll just say that it sounds a lot like their old stuff. And that’s 100% intended as a compliment.
Despite a career spanning almost 3 decades and a stint as Trevor Peres’ side hustle in the early 2000’s, things never took off for these New Yawk death metal OGs the way it did for Suffocation, Immolation, and other early scenesters from the region. And despite a steady stream of new material over the years, nothing quite matched the ferocity, quality, and balls out menace of their 1993 debut SERMON OF MOCKERY. That was until the release of their latest full length, UNHOLY REQUIEM, an album that could be justifiably described as a return t…, uh, sounding a lot like their old stuff.
Beyond seeing Pyrexia’s original logo once again triumphantly emblazoned on the CD cover, UNHOLY REQUIEM’s 8 new tracks make the album sound like a rightful successor to SERMON. There’s no filler here – the songs smack you in the jaw one after the other, like a set of brass knuckles in an alleyway fight while founding guitarist Chris Basile mashes out some of the fastest, meanest riffs we’ve heard from him in a minute. And current vocalist Jim Beach is the latest in a long line of Pyrexia frontmen, but the growls coming out of this dude’s voice sound like the demons swarming the albums’ cover art.
The only gripe I can muster around UNHOLY REQUIEM is an awkward lag of silence before and after each track, almost 3-4 seconds at a time. It’s petty, I know, but I’ve heard it in both the CD and digital versions of the album and it grinds the continuity of the album to a halt (especially when you’re raging to the disc in your car stereo). That aside, UNHOLY REQUIEM is old school NY death metal at its best. Check out Pyrexia on tour when they hit your town, the songs sound even better live.