An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master is the debut full-length from New York, NY-based death metal outfit Pyrrhon, re-released by Polish label Selfmadegod Records for worldwide distribution. The album was mixed by Colin Marston (Krallice, Dysrhythmia), a good choice and an excellent aesthetic match, and here and there you can catch flashes of Gorguts in Pyrrhon’s sound.
The album is an impressive effort, composed of rich, intelligent material — brains as well as brawn. Pyrrhon are a young band (there isn’t a single member over 24), but this record proves they’re not just talented but genuinely skilled and mature young men.
The lyrics of An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master are bleak and anguished. The music is also as harsh as one would expect from any album in this genre, but what sets it apart from so much death metal is that Pyrrhon don’t hold their ability to alienate the audience as a high point of success. There are definitely alienating, difficult elements, like the crazy transition from the buzzing, distorted, thunderous and fracturing end of “Idiot Circles” to the rich, warm, subtly ominous beginning of “Correcting A Mistake.”
There is also much that’s accessible, enjoyable and supremely welcoming — the jazzy elements are designed to lure in the listener, to soften and caress the ear while other aspects pummel. An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master contains just enough groove to be downright seductive, and includes many compelling riff structures to keep the ear interested. There are also many great mnemonic devices woven into the lyrics, like the chorus of “this too shall pass!” repeated throughout “The New Parasite.”
With their first full-length, Pyrrhon have presented some blistering death metal that’s also smart, compelling and even sexy. Theirs is a career I am eager to follow.