Review: Pyogensis – A King to Disappear
Written by Gary Hernandez
A Kingdom to Disappear is the second installment from Pyogensis in their 19th century trilogy that began with A Century in the Curse of Time. It is also their second salvo in the face of critics who had considered them irrelevant after a 13 year absence.
It’s hard to talk about Pyogenesis without first addressing their genre, or lack thereof. Are they gothic, death, punk, none, all? And why do we need to categorize bands in the first place? At any rate, a lot has been said about Pyogenesis’s wide-ranging musical styles—some call it innovative and genre-breaking; others call it inconsistent and sloppy. I think the measure is simple—over the years, has their music caused you to sacrifice just a bit more of your precious hearing on the altar of your turntable or in the churn of mosh pit? Was there a riff or a lyric they offered up that mirrored your life, clean or tarnished? If it’s yes, then it was worth the trip. Personally, I’d rather journey with a band that is exploring and growing than a band that is standing still. You get a lot further.
Much like their 2015 comeback album, A Kingdom to Disappear resounds with steampunk overtones. The album cover art features a zeppelin clad in metal anchored above an agro-industrial landscape. On the horizon sits a huge globe of flame, and further in the distance are Pink Floydesque smoke stacks billowing filth and progress into a red sky. In the foreground, bearded men in top haps gesture to and fro on a craggy hillside. And it is all framed by gilded theatre curtains with Cthulhuian squids thrusting from the corners, suggesting that indeed something sinister this way comes.
If you listen to the album digitally, do yourself a favor and turn off the shuffle. While there are certainly standalone tracks, the album is a story and should be listened to in sequence for at least the first few rotations. After that, pick and play at will. As I said, Pyogenesis is a borderless band when it comes to genres, so there is a lot to choose from. Outstanding tracks for me were ‘I Have Seen my Soul’—a visceral song about Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray which, of course, is also about each of us in our darkest moments—and ‘Blaze, My Northern Flame,’ a thunderous track reminiscent of Arch Enemy. ‘Every Man for Himself and God against All’ is also a prime offering. While the lyric, “I’ll be missing tonight but no one will miss me,” drips with emo self-pity, I’ll be damned it didn’t find myself singing along to it.
‘New Helvetia,’ though classically acoustic, is also high on my playlist. Another steampunk themed song, it invokes the spirit of tragic adventure with allusions to any of the several ships in the 1800’s which bore the name of Helvetia, from the Norwegian National Line steamship to the famously shipwrecked cargo vessel, the remnants of which can still be seen in Rhossili Bay.
On the downside, I would say the album felt a bit overproduced. Whether from the kitschy clapping and choral backing vocals in ‘That’s When Everybody Gets Hurt’ or the pitch perfect vocal harmonies in the opening ‘Sleep is Good,’ there were a few aspects of the album that scratched at my nerves.
All together, however, A Kingdom to Disappear is a well-crafted concept album from a band that has developed impressive musical depth and breadth. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you want an album that you can savor, an album that will make you think, and even an album that gives you that periodic pain at the back of your neck from too much violent headbanging, this is a good option. 6.5/10