Reviews

Pyralis, Everything Is Emptiness (Good Fight Music, 2018)

FULL DISCLOSURE:

No, my  apologies to fans for whom the mention of those words in any context, but especially in a musical one, triggers phantom sounds of Guy Piccioto’s soaring tenor followed by frustrated and impotent angst over the lack of anything substantial musically out of him for the past 16 years, but Pyralis doesn’t do a Fugazi cover on their debut recording, a six-song EP that was released on Nov. 30 by Good Fight Music and cheerfully titled Everything Is Emptiness.

No Fugazi covers or any other covers at all. Six original songs. And rumor has it that it is going to be followed by another six in a thematically linked Part Two later on. And I can’t promise you this, but there might even be a Part Three, also with six songs. Six … Six … Six. I haven’t DaVinci Decoded the numerological meaning behind that pattern quite yet, but it must mean something. But WHAT!? I’ve got it! It adds up to eighteen! The legal voting age. It’s a get out the vote message. Cryptic AND civic-minded! Genius.  

Okay, those details are not rumors per se since a member of the band told that to me directly, I guess. Except for the Part Three stuff, I made that up. I kind of just figured that would be cool because I can’t escape from Satan’s insidious plot to achieve the damnation of my eternal soul and thus I am in constant thrall to His power and even now, as I confess this to you, I am still doing His dark bidding. Hail Satan etc etc etc. So, I floated the idea here to please Him because that’s why I do anything, but also hopefully so people keep asking them when Part Three is coming out, so then they have to do it just to shut down all the dumb questions they will get about it, so everybody wins. Mostly.

My use of the term full disclosure here is actually for journalistic purposes, despite my not being a journalist. I’m a writer, yes. And journalists are also writers, yes. But journalists are ethically bound to tell the truth and aim for total objectivity and zero bias. Writers are bound by what their editors and publishers are willing to put up with and what their readers will find most entertaining rather than their allegiance to any professional duty to be strictly “informative."

Remember when Oprah castrated James Frey on her TV show for exaggerating some things in his memoir? Okay, well, if you don't remember that it happened and it's probably on YouTube, so watch some clips and go nuts while I keep talking with the rest of the adults.

James Frey lied in his memoir. Guess what? Every other person who ever wrote a memoir almost certainly lied in some places in theirs, too. All of them did, yes.

Guess what again? Paradoxically, much of the best fiction that has ever been written has often been largely composed of true stories. Things that the author has experienced himself or witnessed firsthand or heard some other way, and he's just changed the names and some superficial details, and structured it all into a narrative arc. I'm not saying it's easy, but I am saying that the best material comes from the real life of somebody, not from staring at a blinking cursor while trying to imagineer a totally invented human being. You want a good character? Pick one that you actually know personally, in real life, and give him a new name. Will they be offended? Maybe. Can they sue? Not really. Will you give a shit about offending them if it gets you a book deal? You tell me. But you may as well lie and say you'd never do that to anybody, even if it got you published. I'll still know the truth.

Guess what again, again? History is even worse, it's a combination of the preceding but with an actual political agenda and an almost absurd level of vanity regarding its supposed commitment to objectivity.

Still, I am disclosing this disclosure in spite of all that, so that I don’t inadvertently besmirch Carlos’s good name by creating a disreputable association ...  Which could have happened had I chosen the No Disclosure option by not revealing that I have known Aaron, the vocalist for Pyralis (and previously Disembodied) for over 20 years. We probably met when we were both teenagers and his high-school band Crawlspace played a local DIY warehouse all day thing, opening for about a half-dozen “adult” bands along with my high school band Jerkhammer (they later became Calvin Krime after I was out of it and they then signed to AmRep, and yes I know both of those band names are cheesy, I didn't pick them, but we were still probably better than the band most of you reading this were members of when you were in 11th grade, so whatever.)

Oh, and I suppose I could mention that I roadied for Disembodied on their first tour. And released one of their early recordings on my obscure little label. And that they used to play shows in the basement of my house pretty frequently. And other stuff, probably? Probably there’s other stuff, but come on. Most of it was a long time ago.

I mean, okay, there has been *some* recent contact:  I just saw Pyralis play last summer with Code Orange and Vein, and I would have paid to get in if he hadn’t offered to put me on the list, I swear it. Pyralis was good and so was Vein. Code Orange looked like they had raided Rob Zombie’s yard sale and were wearing fur coats and stuff, but they were also good. That’s it!

Oh, and like, around that time, just a bit earlier, while I was in Asia, I also asked Carl at Good Fight to help me contact Turnstile and try to convince them to change their SE Asia tour schedule and play in Phnom Penh, where I lived, instead of taking a day off. They already had all the plane tickets booked, non-refundable, so no luck there, but he did put me in touch with their tour manager and stuff, so that was cool of him. But this isn’t a quid-pro-quo corrupt sort of deal, I’d only owe him a favor if I’d actually gotten to see Turnstile. And I didn’t! Duh.

And I might chat with Aaron once in a while about stuff. He may even have asked me to do this very review. Maybe? I don’t recall the conversation in question at this time, your honor, but I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened.

I know what you’re thinking. But it’s just not like that. It’s not a conspiracy. We live 8000 miles away from each other most of the time, to begin with. And it’s not like we’re Super Metalcore Bro’s who have matching neck tattoos and hang out all the time talking shit about Deafheaven just like they’re the American equivalent of Baby Metal because they don’t dress like slobs and people younger than age 45 currently go to their shows. It’s not like that, man! Unfortunately. Because that sounds like a good time, even though I kind of like Deafheaven. I can go along to get along though if need be: Hipster assholes. Totally dude. So lame.

Bottom line, I’ve known Aaron for a long time, but not to a great extent personally, and I have always thought he was a good guy and I have a lot of respect for how talented he is at getting up on stage and screaming at crowds of people in an entertaining manner. No, not like Bobcat Goldthwait, I mean in the hardcore sense, with a band backing him. My apologies to fans of Bobcat Goldthwait who - nah, fuck it, never mind. I’m no Open Mike Eagle (again, unfortunately) so I’ll dispense with any further qualifiers. Google that last line if you don’t get that joke, and then check it out, and then read that line once again immediately afterwards ... and laugh like you mean it. Thanks.

I merely  wanted you to know all that up front so that if you find yourself in total disagreement with the contents of this review then you’ll know the reason why immediately. And then hopefully you’ll just keep your complaints about my lack of integrity, or my bad taste, or my poor judgement all to yourself instead of putting them in the comments section, where my mother might end up reading them. Not even “might,” guys, she WILL read them. She might even try to respond or something. I’m not kidding. Be cool or I’ll start talking shit about you to your mom, and in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a lot more to say and a lot more time on my hands than you have to say it. Believe that even if you don’t believe me about Pyralis.  

Photo courtesy of Good Fight Music

If you think about it, everybody knows everybody in hardcore and nobody could review anything if they had to opt out automatically whenever they happened to know somebody in the band. That’s like half the fun of it all, isn’t it? The fact that the bands aren’t remote and inaccessible rock stars - they are fans of the music and part of its community and you meet them at shows, whether they are playing or not, so the boundary between the audience and the performers is thin to non-existent. This is a feature, not a bug. Totally!

So now, without further ado, my hopelessly biased review, that you will probably disregard after wading through all of this italics anyways, having by now concluded that I’m unreliable as a critic. I probably am, in general, I suppose.

… But then again, in my defense, think about it … How can anyone as conscientious and scrupulous as I am regarding the fulfillment of his implied duties to the general public - duties that normally come by way of a career that he doesn’t have or even particularly want … carried out to the point that I’ve effectively declared that I will probably lie to you - if I think it improves my story - in almost all other circumstances … How could someone who is so open and honest about being a liar possibly be attempting to lie to you immediately after informing you about such deceitful tendencies so as to completely guarantee that he will have no hope of success in such an endeavor at this time?

That would be insane, obviously. So, just this once, you can 100% trust the accuracy of the following review, given the lengthy and detailed encyclopedia of personal context I have so thoughtfully provided to accompany it. You have my word. I promise. So let’s just start off by breaking it all down to basics:

ACTUAL REVIEW:

Go to Pyralis' Bandcamp page  and carefully listen to the songs available there. Do you like it? I think you probably will. But go with your gut. You either like it however much you like it or don’t like it however much you don’t. There’s no wrong answers in music. If there was, we’d have long since made it illegal for millenials to listen to or perform music of any kind, perhaps by making them wear locking ear-muffs of some clever design. And we haven’t done that, even though we maybe should at least consider it.

I really do sincerely believe that Pyralis are an excellent band, one that is on the rise and have yet to reach their peak, and therefore bound to get even better if they continue on their climb. Very good today, already, and with the definite potential to be great if they stick around. I enjoy listening to these six songs and I have been listening to them regularly over these past few weeks. Perhaps you will agree with me after you take a moment to go and listen to them NOW and hear them for yourselves. Thank you for your time.

REVIEW SUMMARY (FOR MEDIA KITS, ONE SHEETS ETC):

666 out of 5 stars.

The only music that will ever matter for the rest of eternity. Anyone who hears it once will then listen to it compulsively over and over again while lost in a sort of ecstatic fugue state and they will remain that way well past the point of it inducing irreversible madness. But once they hear the music it won’t matter, they will keep listening to it anyways, and absolutely love every moment of it regardless of the consequences.

They will grow old and even deafen and one day die with it still ringing through their ears endlessly, though sounding just as fresh and exciting as it did to them today, the day they read this, followed some simple instructions, and thereby achieved total enlightenment. Indeed, it will continue to sound fresh even as the bodies of myself and yourself and everyone else reading this all rot together silently in the cold cold ground.

It is indisputably better than the sum total of all other music squared. This is the first record that newborn babies should hear as they exit their mother’s womb and it is the last record you will ever want or need to listen to. Burn the rest of them in tribute to Pyralis. Burn them all! Burn them NOW!

And any other so-called “musicians” who are not in Pyralis will, undoubtedly, quit all of their pathetic efforts permanently once they understand how hopeless it will be to continue on as they did before, deluding themselves and others with their ridiculous “songs.” They will all gladly move on to more productive pursuits in light of this monumental achievement, one which is a precious gift to all mankind.

All Hail The Dark Lords of Music! 

HAIL PYRALIS

***

Pyralis' EP, Everything Is Emptiness, is out now via Good Fight Music.

Tagged: pyralis

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