In a world of regional scenes with established sounds, the scene in New York City seems to only be defined by its inability to be tied down. From black metal like Yellow Eyes to the sci-fi technical death metal of Artificial Brain, one can find any number of different styles represented among the bands that call this densely populated city home. Now seeing fit to join this illustrious ranks is Pyrolatrous, who are set to release their debut album Teneral on the population at large.
While Pyrolatrous describe their style as blackened death metal, this is not your expected gurgling, down-tuned kind of metal. The music contained on Teneral takes a much more classic approach, combining second-wave black metal with death metal riffs that feel like they could be pulled straight out of Seven Churches. Driven by the nimble guitar work of Nicholas Palmirotto and the frantic drumming of Lev “Hardest Working Man in Metal” Weinstein, technicality is the hallmark of Teneral. Much of the album’s material is dazzling, full of lightning quick twists and turns, and features complex riffs that run up and down the fretboard. Album opener “From Darkness Reigns Omnipotence” embodies this best, showing the band taking no time at all to explode out of the gate with blasting fury.
This isn’t to say that the whole experience is an exercise in showmanship, rather, that the musicianship on Teneral strikes a necessary balance between style and substance that keeps things exciting without going over the listener’s head (at least mine, anyway). Some of my favorite moments on Teneral, in truth, are when the band holds back a little; “Obeisance and Unrequited Adulation” features the album’s catchiest use of melody, and the intro to “Become the Earth” is a stomping beast that reminds me of my favorite Celtic Frost riffs.
All in all, Pyrolatrous have delivered an album that is unique among the blackened death metal scene. As the sound of this micro-genre tends towards greater uniformity, Teneral is a confident shrugging off of the norm, one that sees several experienced musicians doing what they do best in new and exciting ways.
Teneral will be available October 20 on vinyl and digital download via Gilead Media. For more information on Pyrolatrous, visit their Facebook page, and if you’re in NYC in December, get your tickets for Levipalooza and watch Lev Weinstein actually die.