Typhonian’s Murderous Death Metal Clockwork Powers “The Cosmic Pendulum of Time” (EP Review)
Meat and potatoes don’t deserve their poor reputation. They’re slandered as basic, bland, and predictable, and that may be the case for amateur chefs, but meat and potatoes are foundations of complex carbs and lean protein (depending on the meat). Bodybuilders get jacked from meat and potatoes. Combine them with progressive overload and the weights won’t stop accumulating on either side of the bar until a quick steroid cycle is necessary. Every region has a distinct take on meat and potatoes, and it is very hard to screw them up.
Typhonian is a meat and potatoes German death metal band prepared by a world-class chef. The Cosmic Pendulum of Time, their first EP after 2017’s full-length debut Beneath the Streams of Life, adheres to formulas set by European death metal’s progenitors but spices it up with their own heat. Their fundamental grasp on death metal is so tight that their knuckles have hardened from bone to stone. Imbued into the traditionalist leanings are hints of their spacious potential. There's missed opportunities to indulge in their concealed progressive interests here, but they can be attributed to The Cosmic Pendulum of Time’s status as an EP. Its taunt tracklist benefits the compact death metal vision. Only on the closing track do Typhonian ditch the meat and potatoes for a more complex paella.
Drawing from European acts with buzzsaw guitar tones, twin harmonic guitar solos, and barking as opposed to gurgling, Typhonian exemplify the best of old school death metal. They’re not so steeped in their craft that they orbit a flighty, melodic stratosphere, nor is there any subterranean grumbling from the mouth of a DOOM enemy. The Cosmic Pendulum of Time traverses miniscule variations through shifting blast beats and groove-laden riffs. The solos reminisce early melodic death metal, though the backing tirades pummel the track back onto course firmly enough that the guitars can swirl without abandon.
Occasionally Typhonian tease a larger vista beyond the starch and protein. In some cases, such as "On Primordial Pathways" they dabble with folk strings and expansive organs to serve as an interlude. Othertimes Typhonian further indulge their cosmic theming to diversify the tracks, like sneaking in an extra crank of black pepper onto a chicken breast. For instance, "Disembodied" closes on transcendental noodling. It bisects the track’s early groove the follow-up "Forever in Misery," wherein Typhonian engage in textures both vile and chunky.
It’s only on "The Cosmic Pendulum of Time" that Typhonian shoot for an opera. They carry their instinctual death metal attunements into a vast, multiphasic track. "The Cosmic Pendulum of Time" traverses more ground than the rest of the EP combined, progressing through valleys and sweeping into gulches. It’s bittersweet. Typhonian were already dynamic, but on the title track they expand their dynamism to a higher plateau. It leads on a bit too much, revealing acrobatic inclinations Typhonian don’t regularly pursue elsewhere.
Praise is due to Typhonian’s time-tested meat and potatoes approach. Expecting revelations from The Cosmic Pendulum of Time is a fruitless endeavor, as rarely do Typhonian need to aspire for more. Firmly rooted in old school death metal’s tectonically solid foundations, Typhonian’s ambitions may be a tad too reigned in but they never actively harm The Cosmic Pendulum of Time. It’s only in comparison to what might have lain beyond that one could disparage the EP. So enjoy the meat and potatoes; they’re time tested, homely, and filling as hell.
The Cosmic Pendulum of Time EP released on June 1st, 2021 and is available via Bandcamp.