Records of the Week With Jon and Ted Week #15
Each Friday, Editors Ted Nubel and Jon Rosenthal will share their picks for Records of the Week — not necessarily what's out this week, just whatever's on our mind or on our record players.
Released in 2009, Black Pyramid's first full-length was something of a revelation for my understanding of doom metal. Funneling obscure mysticism and exuberant retro riffs into a heavy and vintage doom sound, the self-titled is full of strange melodies and weird harmonies that, while obviously crushing, defy the conventions of the genre in a way still unmatched today: the pool of bands that sound like Black Pyramid is shockingly and frustratingly small. Bands have copied their subject matter and tones, sure, but their progressive-minded approach to riffing like motherfuckers is uncontested.
The album's unusual tonality is backed up by an insanely strong understanding of momentum and song structure: verses charge through war-torn battle fields, choruses enthrone themselves within your mind, and every solo or melodic hook is perfectly placed. Clay Neely's drumming lends cunning momentum, adding extra layers of delicious brutality to even the most normal of the riffs found here. As a final note, if you hit this album make sure you keep an eye out for the blatant, if delightful, Black Sabbath nod in "The Worm Ouroboros." Frankly, if there isn't even half of a Sabbath riff lurking somewhere in a doom album, why even bother?
dawn of dreams
Much like the same point I make about black metal, death metal has always been weird. Be it Larry Lalonde's space cadet guitar work in early Possessed, Chuck Schuldiner's progressive rock riffs, or, in the case of this week's pick, Pan.Thy.Monium's batshit insane compositions. I don't even know how to describe this record. On one hand, this is very much a death metal record, but on the other… it's like you gave a group of musicians a bunch of instruments, described death metal's tenets, and told them to "make death metal." This is the case for all Pan.Thy.Monium, but the band's 1992 debut, which opens with a 22-minute epic, is definitely this group of Swedes at their most earnest and creative. Oh yeah, and this was one of the many Dan Swanö bands to appear in the '90s, existing alongside the legendary Edge of Sanity.