When it comes to our promo bin, the old adage holds true: the early bird gets the worm, the late bird gets the obscure Chilean black metal album with the unpronounceable name. Seriously, what the fuck is all that squiggly shit? Google tells me it’s Hindu for “world path,” which makes sense given that Pyreficativm‘s sole member Melek R. N. accompanied this album with a lengthy promo blurb containing several references to Eastern mysticism (amidst a torrent of other philosophical gibberish). After seeing he also referred to this debut as a “vehicle and ritualistic vessel,” my pretense sensors went off the charts. Suddenly I feel like I’ve stumbled upon a South American version of Vardan that Enjoys ov Deep Soma. Unfortunately, the reality is far worse.
Pyreficativm’s World Path1 is one of the emptiest records I’ve ever heard. Self-editing dictates that a band should take their best ideas, make a coherent album out of them, and leave the lackluster ones on the cutting room floor. Melek takes the opposite approach. Over a 76-minute runtime, he takes a handful of ideas, stretches them beyond their expiration date, and pads the length like no other musician I’ve ever heard. Path is the atmospheric black metal equivalent of the Sahara Desert: barren, bleak, and quite an ordeal to get through.
Surprisingly, opener “Ancient Sands (The Foundation in Tiphareth)” isn’t a bad start. After an intro of what sounds like babbling water and jangling windchimes, Melek cuts in with bellowing rasps and a huge weeping doom lead that recalls Esoteric. Ceremonial female singing and quick pattering bass drums are introduced after a few minutes before the song concludes with a strained melody that sounds like a reinvention of its opening lead. At over ten minutes in length, it certainly doesn’t have enough ideas or development to justify its runtime, but it’s not bad. It’s like if Nocternity took a fistful of quaaludes but still managed to leave their archaic, ritualistic aura wholly intact.
Sadly, the next two tracks go from “little development” to “no development whatsoever.” That’s not hyperbole—“The Stellar Mantras ov Shakti” and the title track together comprise almost eleven minutes of ambient noise consisting solely of distant moaning, soft rustling sounds, and faint ritualistic drumming. Considering the first track was already so mellow, it’s a bizarre move. It’s as if Melek was performing a show where he had diarrhea after the first song and abruptly left the stage, having just enough time to shout “just play my samples!” to the sound guy before darting off to the bathroom. Follow-up “The Ascension ov Promethean Fire” doesn’t help things, beginning with three minutes of gentle piano before moving into thrumming chords and lethargic beats. Like the opener, it eventually picks up the pace and incorporates some sustained leads and more female singing, but it’s far from interesting enough to justify its eleven-minute runtime.
You can probably guess, but the rest of Path hardly redeems things. Ambient tracks aside, “The Mysterious Dreams of the Midnight” and “Om Namah Shivaya” are the least interesting songs here, consisting of cleanly picked intervals repeated for over five minutes. Closer “Transcendental Conjuration ov Nvth” actually features some decent ideas, but it’s marred by an unnecessary fourteen-minute runtime and clumsy transitions. Fortunately, Melek does keep things somewhat interesting by varying his vocals throughout Path, shifting from a dry croak to ghoulish spoken word. Likewise, while the occasional melodies are quite basic, they’re at least evocative, and they fit in well with the rich soundscape the production fosters. Unfortunately even that has it downside, as the distorted guitars feel about as powerful as a wet sock.
Still, this project has potential. The use of female vocals is intriguing, some of Melek’s ideas aren’t bad, and he definitely knows how to conjure a palpable atmosphere. Sadly, these positives are grossly outweighed by bloated song lengths and overlong ambient tracks which actually contribute less to the atmosphere than the proper songs. If World Path was playing in the background I wouldn’t turn it off, but I’d rather get fisted by Shiva than give this thing another focused listen. I suppose hardcore atmospheric black metal aficionados may be willing to give Pyreficativm a spin, but for everyone else, let this serve as a cautionary tale of why self-editing (and, you know, actually having enough ideas to fill up your fucking album) is so important.