Pyogenesis - A Kingdom to RememberOh, I’ve heard death and I’ve heard black. I’ve heard prog metal albums that I thought would never end. I’ve heard so much shit that it’s all started to blend, but I never thought I’d see Pyogenesis again. Those old enough to reminisce about the 90’s might recall them as hangabouts in the burgeoning gothic metal scene. My rung on the generational ladder caught them in the early 00’s, power chording it up with acts like blink-182 and Green Day. Fast forward another decade to the re-resurfacing of Pyogenesis, with 2015’s A Century in the Curse of Time shambling along like a steampunk Frankenstein with a knack for vocal harmonies. Realistically, A Kingdom to Remember should not work, not for one second. Yet here I am trying to explain why, at least on some level, it does.

Are Pyogenesis metal? I don’t think they could care less. Their genre-bending subverts expectations not only based in their equally enigmatic reinvention, but constructed within Kingdom from one song to the next. While pop punk remnants heavily permeated aspects of Century, Pyogenesis allowed for star-crossed idiosyncrasies that invoked bands as diverse as Dropkick Murphys, Weezer, and Asian Kung-Fu Generation. Kingdom takes that commitment one step farther. The album shifts constantly beneath your feet, effectively eliminating the concept of a singular emblematic sound. Bouncing from strained bombastic heights on “Every Man For Himself and God Against All” to Dorian Gray-inspired pop-industrial “I Have Seen My Soul” to echoey, 80’s-inspired “A Kingdom to Disappear (It’s Too Late),” keeping up with the many sounds of Pyogenesis could exhaust Tom G. Warrior. The dichotomy of dual highlights “We (1848)” and “Blaze, My Northern Flame” isn’t head-scratching, it’s downright Jaguars-esque. The former smashes Matchbox Twenty into blink-182 before Sabaton’s Joakim Goddamn Brodén of all people1 panzers through, lugging a huge solo and big league catchiness. The latter, despite raised suspicions whenever “blaze” and “north” come within 100 feet of each other, offers an excellent impersonation of In Mourning’s Tobias Netzell and the best In Flames riff written in 15 years. On an album this eclectic, the inclusion (and success) of something so simple as melodic death caught me completely off-guard. Then again, everything about this experience is unexpected.

But surprise does not necessarily equal success. Uniqueness aside, the quality of the songs struggle to reach the bar set on Century. With a uniform simplicity and sparse development holding them back, the tracks rely on their quizzical variety and sing-along vibes to keep themselves afloat. Even those attributes cannot cure all ills, as in the case of “I Have Seen My Soul.” Additionally, Kingdom turns to soft moments and vocal digression far more often than its predecessor. They rarely collapse, but often feel like simple buttresses for the rampaging earwvrms of Pyogenesis’ stronger tracks. Only “Everlasting Pain” crashes and burns beyond saving. With their stores of tenderness and Joy Division-ethereality cashed in on “New Helvetia” and “That’s When Everybody Gets Hurt,” the finale’s attempt at long-form emotion stretches 3 minutes of material into 13 never-ending minutes of Propofol drip.

Pyogenesis 2017

In the down moments representative of Kingdom’s shortcomings, the music’s remarkably vocal-dependent nature rescues the album from coming unhinged. Led by unrivaled frontman Flo V. Schwarz, Pyogenesis’ microphone triple-threat offers a smorgasbord of harmonizations, growls, and cleans that are squeaky, gruff, and everything in between. One minute, the Germans channel the Dropkick Murphys‘ barbershop quartet; the next, the soaring vocal harmonies of Blind Guardian. Though the pungency of ripe cheese occasionally strays close to laughable, Schwarz’s leads represent the most endearing and auspicious aspect of the album. Backups Gizz Butt and I.C. Weiner Malte Brauer join in on the vocal party, but it truly is Schwarz’s show.

In many ways, Schwarz’s performance is the microcosm of a band that has talent and shortcomings in spades. Pyogenesis’ founder is the only original member left and as he goes, so goes A Kingdom to Remember. With peaks that will likely compete for Song of the Year and lows that induce snores and snorts in equal measure, I suspect opinions on Kingdom will be as varied as the music itself. The record does not top Century, but Pyogenesis will find themselves with a few new fans nonetheless.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: pyogenesis.com | facebook.com/pyogenesis
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2017

 

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  1. No, not really.
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  • Grymm

    I would never imagine Weezer, Dropkick Murphys, or the goddamn Jacksonville Jaguars would ever get a mention here at AMG. Yet, Pyogenesis invoked all three in one review. Hot damn, Dr. Wvrm!

    Also, meh song is meh.

    • Some Jaguars fan you are!

    • Zach Ward

      Are you sure the browns wern’t a better choice tho?? At least the jags won more than 1 game last year, and seem to have a better future

      • Zach Ward

        Oh silly me, I misread ur name… I’m dumb I thought u wrote the review.

  • The Metal Pigeon

    Hmm… have never heard of these guys before but I’m liking the song you posted. Unusual but it works .

  • contenderizer

    “Fast forward another decade to the re-resurfacing of Pyogenesis, with 2017’s A Century in the Curse of Time shambling along like a steampunk Frankenstein…”

    2015 wants its album back

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Shit brb.

      • My bad, you had it right and I changed it in editing. I blame wine product and poor choices.

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Only 11 bands name-dropped, Wyrm? Was hoping for a baker’s dozen!

    • Grymm

      Where’s that bob guy when we need him most?

      • Bob

        I’m here, sometimes.

  • Birrgit

    Fire and rain! <3

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    It’s the second time TODAY that I read some equivalent of the “Is this Metal?” question on AMG. Second time TODAY. Both times the answer is some sort of “it doesn’t matter if it’s Metal or not”.
    Where has all the Elitism gone? Don’t we care about Metal Cred anymore? Where is Angry Metal Guy and why has he let his minions run amok writing that it doesn’t matter if some stuff is not Metal? Where is Steel Druhm and why isn’t he keeping these lackeys in check with his Iron Fist Of Steel?
    It’s time for poser heads on a steel tray!

    • DrewMusic

      Go listen to Vimm by Metsatöll, you’ll feel better. You’re right, of course, but I’m too high and tired to support your cause, I can only offer some small comfort in these trying times.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        That Metsatöll thing sure is awesome!

        • DrewMusic

          I find so many gems littered along the interhighway whilst burncruising through the youtubes. Quite often the trip starts here, I just type in whatever band I read about then go to town on the recommended videos until the right, fantastic new hitchhiker crosses my path.

    • Remain calm. All is well!!

    • Dr. Wvrm

      It’s Shred Your Cred Monday! We’re doing it quarterly now to keep morale nice and low.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        Hey man, that was my idea! I’ll see you in AMG Court.

    • sir_c

      It all started with that man-bun on the front page

    • [not a Dr]

      I care about my metal cred! When I bought Hardwired […], I sandwiched it between Gorod and Manowar so the cashier wouldn’t judge me.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        You mean 80’s Manowar, right?

        • [not a Dr]

          Kings of Metal. That should be metal enough, shouldn’t it?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Hail And Kill!

    • GardensTale

      Too bad we didn’t make it a third, we might have been able to cause some aneurysms around here!

    • Name’s Dalton

      This review started with a James Taylor parody, so all bets are off.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    I kind of liked A Century In the Curse of Time. It often reminded me of modern In Flames if modern In Flames had any idea what the heck they were doing. Basically, crunchy guitar metal that flirts with extremism but still has radio-friendly aspirations. Something I am not opposed to but that is rarely done well and, as In Flames shows, can be downright awful. But Pyogenesis seem good at it.

    But I don’t know if I liked A Century In the Curse of Time enough to want to hear what appears to be, “Kind Of Like A Century In the Curse of Time But Not As Good”.

  • Reese Burns

    Green Day AND Blink 182?? No thank you and no thank you.

    • DrewMusic

      I mean I totally get that, death to false punk and whatnot, but to be completely fair those were merely 2 reference points for specific elements of specific songs. The intro to this is fairly solid, and definitely metal of some sort. Didn’t really compel me to listen all the way through, but I always try to give anything here a chance, and now I loves me some Zeal and Ardor, to name one example.
      But for realz, fuck Green Day and Blink 182 and everything they’ve ‘inspired.’

  • Norfair Legend

    Pretty cool album, I remember buying Waves of Erotasia (sp?) on a whim back in the day and followed them for a little bit, checking in periodically, never being too impressed again. My tastes are much more open these days and giving this a spin I can say I dig it.

    Now when are we getting a new Bile record, speaking of bands that had a promising industrial start and fell off?

  • Angelus Archdaemon

    Will check it. Im lowering my rate standards… A 3.5 is getting rare nowadays in AMG.

    • [not a Dr]

      You mean that its getting rare this week?

  • DrewMusic

    The crowd does not want to listen outside the box, it seems that today, we are all Angry Metal Guy.

    • Angelus Archdaemon

      Yes

  • Wilhelm

    Their first two ep’s were awesome, especially waves of erotasia, but their foray into alt rock was embarrassing, and apparently they continue to release this crap…skip.

  • I quite like what I’ve heard so far. Only 3 tracks, but songwriting is strong. I very much like the cover too.

    I’ve known of these guys seemingly forever, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually listened to them.

  • Thatguy

    All those names dropped , but not the obvious comparison. The singer sounds like the dude from Omnium Gatherum.

  • GWW

    Did i see Blink-182 mentioned!? Yuck! I draw the line with Torche! This sucks.

  • Choodi

    Holy shit, ANOTHER Pyogenesis album?

    I have loved these guys since their first EP and stuck with them through almost all of their various incarnations and sounds.

    This and Century are amazing because they basically combine all of the many different Pyogenesis sounds into an amazing mashup of awesome.

    For anyone who has never heard them before, try queuing their albums up in chronological order and be ready for the most amazing mind fuck you’ll ever experience.

  • Rob

    I had some goth/doom compilation back in the 90s, and Blue Smiley’s Plan by Pyogenesis was on it. Ended up being the only track I liked on the CD. I still listen to it sometimes, but for some reason never bothered to look up another song by Pyogenesis. I might not ever.