Pyrrhon is an avant-garde Death Metal band from Brooklyn. They play a highly chaotic, technical, and dissonant form of death metal very comparable to other bands in the genre like Gorguts and Ulcerate. They are also notable for vocalist Doug Moore's highly poetic Sophisticated as Hell lyrics, which are mostly extremely cynical and incisive explorations of philosophy and social issues. The band has so far released three full length albums and three EPs, all to increasing critical acclaim.
Current band members:
- Doug Moore - Vocals, lyrics
- Dylan DiLella - Guitar
- Erik Malave - Bass
- Steve Schwegler - Drums
Former band members:
- Mike Sheen - Bass
- Alex Cohen - Drums
- Fever Kingdoms (EP, 2009)
- An Excellent Servant But a Terrible Master (2011)
- The Mother of Virtues (2014)
- Growth Without End (EP, 2015)
- Running Out of Skin (EP, 2016)
- What Passes for Survival (2017)
Pyrrhon provides examples of:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Goat Mockery Ritual" mentions "bestial blasphemous nunrape nonsense".
- "The Happy Victim's Creed" has another example, with the line "Drug dream wracked reprobate creeps".
- Album Intro Track: "The Oracle of Nassau" is a subversion, in that while it's a very short track placed at the beginning of the album, it is by far one of the band's heaviest songs.
- Album Title Drop: On both of their last two full lengths.
"Fecundity is the mother of virtues"
- On The Mother of Virtues, on the Title Track.
"Who would mourn them, those pinioned fools
- On What Passes for Survival, in "Empty Tenement Spirit".
Now spared their sorry fate
To subsist on the bitter fruit
That passes for survival, in these vile final days?"
- Ascended Meme: Alex Cohen started the experimental grind project Chad Thundercock with Dylan DiLella and various other contributors after an encounter with a particularly unpleasant individualnote spawned an in-joke that gave him a spark of inspiration.
- Bedlam House: "Gamma Knife" is seemingly about a paranoid schizophrenic who is sent to one of these and lobotomized, and then emerges an Empty Shell.
- Big Brother Is Watching: "Flesh Isolation Chamber", which is about the pervasiveness of surveillance technology in the modern day.
- The Big Rotten Apple: The band are from New York, and their general disgust with the state of the city influences a lot of their lyrics. "New Parasite" is a good example.
- Boléro Effect: "Eternity in a Breath" builds from sparse, creepy guitar work in the beginning up to an utterly apocalyptic climax.
- Breather Episode: Subverted more often than not, as usually when they slow down from their usual sonic assault it only makes things exponentially creepier. Played somewhat straight on "Empty Tenement Spirit", which features a fairly melodic section in the middle that sounds almost like post-metal.
- Bright Is Not Good: The Mother of Virtues and What Passes for Survival both feature bright, garish colors on their album covers, but the images they depict are horrifying.
- Brooklyn Rage: They're from Brooklyn, and their music is very, very angry.
- Capitalism Is Bad: A recurring theme in the lyrics, especially on What Passes for Survival, is the soul sucking nature of modern consumerist society. Most clearly expressed in "The Invisible Hand Holds a Whip", about corporate corruption, and "The Happy Victim's Creed", which is basically about an office drone.
- Careful with That Axe: Doug Moore is very, very good at this.
- The Cassandra: "The Oracle of Nassau" is narrated by a homeless wretch who sees how corrupt and doomed our society has become, but is not listened to by anyone he tells.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Alluded to in "The Invisible Hand Holds a Whip", as well as "Goat Mockery Ritual", which says that "Real evil sounds like the kind of thing that might require a suit and tie".
- Cover Version: They covered "Crystal Mountain" by Death on Running Out of Skin.
- Crapsack World: Pyrrhon's general point of view in their lyrics, which is made all the more disturbing because it's pretty much all based on real life. Perhaps best encapsulated with these lines from "The Oracle of Nassau"."There are no crowds out on the streets
No neon lights, no beautiful people
Just vacant windows staring down
At the heaps of ash and charred rags
And the avenues yawn between
Ruins that spike like polygraphs
At the half remembered husks
In the cordwood-bundled clouds"
- Crazy Homeless People: The narrator of "The Oracle of Nassau" seems to be one of these. There's also "Statistic Singular", which tells a possibly true story of how the narrator saw a drunken, belligerent homeless man push a college student in front of an oncoming subway train.
- Deadpan Snarker: Doug Moore definitely seems to be one, judging by the lyrics of "Goat Mockery Ritual".
- Divided States of America/War Is Hell: "Balkanized".
- Eagleland: A strong, strong type 2 is portrayed throughout their discography. Moore even described "The Unraveling" suite on What Passes for Survival as being "a lament for the vision of America I read about in history and civics books as a kid."
- The End of the World as We Know It: A recurring theme, especially on their later material. "The Mother of Virtues" alludes to this happening as a result of overpopulation, while "Empty Tenement Spirit" is more an After the End scenario that seems to refer to rising sea levels and climate change.
- Epic Rocking: Some of their songs are pretty long. Examples include "Flesh Isolation Chamber" (8:24), "A Terrible Master" (8:04), "White Flag" (9:42), "Eternity in a Breath" (8:17), "The Mother of Virtues" (10:36), and "Empty Tenement Spirit" (12:03).
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: The cover of The Mother of Virtues shows a featureless, female humanoid figure covered in eyes and surrounded by a swarm of cockroaches.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "The Happy Victim's Creed" features one where it sounds like the song abruptly ends, before roaring back in for the final verse.
- Fading into the Next Song: Bordering on Siamese Twin Songs in many cases due to how fast the band moves. "The Invisible Hand Holds a Whip" and "Goat Mockery Ritual" form a nice example.
- Genre Shift: Several of their songs could qualify as grindcore, and "Eternity in a Breath" is basically a detour into post-metal.
- God Is Evil: "The Architect Confesses (Spittlestrand Hair)".
- Green Aesop: Not explicitly, but environmental destruction is one of the many human evils they write about.
- Happiness in Slavery: "The Happy Victim's Creed" essentially treats modern life in the workforce as this.
- Horrible History Metal: "Turing's Revenge" is mostly about the forced chemical castration and subsequent suicide of Alan Turing for his homosexuality.
- Humans Are Bastards: Basically the main theme of the band.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Even when you have the lyrics sheet in front of you, it can be borderline impossible to decipher what's being sung sometimes. Which is something of a shame, as they're very well-written lyrics.
- Ironic Name: The song "Motivational Speaker II", which is about self-hatred.
- Last Note Nightmare: It'd be easier to list the songs that don't use this, but "Eternity in a Breath" has to have one of the creepiest examples, ending with the sound of the vocalist just breathing heavily into the microphone.
- "Empty Tenement Spirit" suddenly cuts off, leaving us with what sounds like heavy chains being slammed against the floor again and again and somebody yelling in pain before the song, and the album, finally ends.
- Lead Drummer: Former drummer Alex Cohen is famous for his multitude of projects past and present, prolific session work, incredible technical ability, and, as of 2017, his online lesson videos.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "The Oracle of Nassau" and "Implant Fever".
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Goat Mockery Ritual" is no less fearsome than the band's usual material, but the lyrics are a sarcastic attack on overly edgy bands in the metal community rather than the band's usual condemnations of mankind and modern society.
- Mad Oracle: "The Oracle of Nassau", written from the point of view of an unmedicated, mentally ill homeless person who truly believes in the profundity of his ramblings and is frustrated by what he sees as the rest of the world's inability to grasp his revelations.
- Madness Mantra: This line, repeated over and over at the end of "The Happy Victim's Creed"."Make me what I am
Make me the servant I was meant to be"
"Always keep growing and growing and changing
- And another in "Cancer Mantra".
Never stop spreading"
- "Balkanized" has "It's not personal" repeated several times.
- "New Parasite" has "This too shall pass" said after every line for the first half of the song.
- Metalcore: Has extremely prominent mathcore elements.
- Metal Scream: Doug Moore employs a mixture of traditional death growls and high pitched shrieks reminiscent of black metal. He also sometimes uses cleaner, shouted vocals somewhat reminiscent of Neurosis, like on "Tennessee".
- Mind Screw: Their music is incredibly dense and cacophonous, and their lyrics tend to be very cryptic.
- Miniscule Rocking: Some of Pyrrhon's songs are short enough to approach Grindcore territory. None of the songs on Growth Without End are longer than 4 minutes, with "Forget Yourself" being less than 90 seconds, and then there's "The Unraveling" suite on What Passes for Survival, whose three songs put together aren't even as long as the next track, "Empty Tenement Spirit". "The Oracle of Nassau" is only 1:26 in length, and their shortest song, "Ashes to Alveoli", is only 33 seconds.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A hard 10, often reaching into 11 territory.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The cover of Running Out of Skin is just a photo of a darkened subway tunnel.
- Nothing Personal: The line "It's not personal" is said repeatedly in "Balkanized".
- Precision F-Strike: Occasionally used. "The Happy Victim's Creed" has a particularly good example."Drinksop spirit drowns the past
He just wanted to do his best
But trying only wore him thin
Fuck off, you didn't live through any of this"
"Why won't you fucking listen to me?
- "The Oracle of Nassau" provides another good one, though in the song itself it's borderline indecipherable.
I'm so close to finding the right words
Look past the sores and the slurring tongue
And take my reality into your heart"
- Protest Song: Many of their songs could be described as protest songs, albeit very cryptic and nihilistic ones.
- Purple Prose: Most of their lyrics, though they're much better written than most examples of this trope.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Doug Moore sometimes layers his vocal tracks on top of each other, often to disorienting effect. "Cancer Mantra" is a good example of this.
- Siamese Twin Songs: All the songs in "The Unraveling".
- Signature Style: Dissonant, mathy riffing, lots of unusual time signatures, abrupt changes in tempo, compositions that heavily rely on improv, occasional clean passages that sound borderline atonal, and manic vocals with surprisingly erudite lyrics.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: So far on the cynical end that you'll forget the idealistic side ever even existed.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Their lyrics are very erudite, but they don't shy from the occasional Precision F-Strike.
- Spoken Word in Music: Occasionally, mostly done using sampling. "White Flag" has a particularly creepy example, with the music slowing to a halt as Doug Moore whispers "This is the world... we made for ourselves."
- Stop and Go: Used at the end of "The Happy Victim's Creed".
- Subdued Section: "Empty Tenement Spirit" has a surprisingly melodic, somewhat post-metal sounding section in the middle, which serves as a genuine Breather Episode for the song.
- Surreal Horror: A lot of their music amounts to this, with its very disorienting, nightmarish feel.
- Take That!: "Goat Mockery Ritual" is one of these to extreme metal bands (in particular, black metal bands) who appropriate Satanic and Nazi-esque imagery purely for shock value without understanding what those symbols really mean or even living up to their own hype, as well as a more general one to certain aspects of the black metal fandom.
- Technical Death Metal: Of the weird, dissonant Gorguts variety, with a healthy dose of mathcore akin to the Willowtip, Robotic Empire, and Black Market Activities bands of the early 2000s.
- Textless Album Cover: All of them after The Mother of Virtues.
- Uncommon Time: Used quite often to add to the general impenetrability of their sound.
- Villain Song: "Cancer Mantra" is an unusual example in that it's basically an ode to a tumor.
- Wretched Hive: Urban decay is a recurring theme of theirs, heavily influenced by their living in Brooklyn. The lyrics listed under Crapsack World are an example of this perspective, as is "Statistic Singular".
- "O, rejoice!
For soon the world will burst with wombs
The sun will claw for the trees in vain
And an ocean of bones will creak below"