Last month the Dutch label/distro Soulseller Records released a 45 rpm black vinyl split featuring two songs each from Pyre (Russia) and Entrapment (The Netherlands). I don’t have the vinyl — yet — but I did discover all four of the songs on Bandcamp, and what a discovery that proved to be. I admit that I have a real weak spot for the style of metal both bands play; more accurately, it’s a G-spot (or at least the male equivalent thereof). But even making allowances for my predisposition toward this kind of music, what both bands have done here is impressive.
The genre to which I’m referring is old school, Swedish-style, metal of fucking death. I hasten to add that Pyre and Entrapment do not sound like clones of each other. Although both bands have obviously plunged their hands up to the elbows in the river of gore that spread out from late-80’s/early 90’s Stockholm, they have very distinctive takes on the tradition, and there are some nods to Autopsy and NYDM in the music, too.
Pyre are based in St. Petersburg, and this is only their second release (the first was a 2012 EP, Ravenous Decease), but man, they already sound like they’ve been at this for a long time. “Destined To Die” is a hard-rocking, punk-fueled rampage that gets the neck snapping immediately. The guitars and bass are stuffed full of HM-2 distortion, the gut-punch drumming is pitch-perfect for this kind of music, and the vocalist sounds a helluva lot like LG Petrov. Very nice screaming guitar solo in this one, too.
The second song, “In the Chains”, pulls a switch and staggers out of the gate like a hamstrung zombie before hitting a loping rhythm. And back and forth it goes, alternately lumbering and rumbling like a big tank with the throttle opened up. It features more banshee guitar soloing that’s guaranteed to please.
Pyre write some damned infectious riffs, they’ve got a bone-crunching low end, and they definitely have the spirit for this style of music. I fuckin’ love what they’ve done.
You will have a hard time believing this when you hear Entrapment’s two songs, but this band appears to be a one-man project (at least for recording purposes), the one man being Michel Jonker from Groningen in The Netherlands. According to Metal-Archives, this split was preceded by three demos and a 2012 full-length album (The Obscurity Within…).
Entrapment’s music has a very different sound from Pyre’s — with a more rancid, radioactive, nails-on-the-chalkboard sound, raw like a bleeding wound. “Graves Disease” is utterly ghoulish, a dynamic, 7+ minute monster that fully justifies its length. The guitar work is rich and varied, and never less than decimating. But Jonker’s reverberating vocals may be the most memorable aspect of the song — they’re both horrifying and electrifying, evil and bestial.
The second track, “Festering Slumber”, is much shorter but no less riveting. It’s a d-beat marauder, again dominated by Jonker’s ghastly vocals and lit up from within by scalding guitar leads. Really compelling, vicious music.
P.S. Entrapment has also just released a new digital single named “Subconscious Nightmare” (a cover of a song by an early Swedish death metal band named Authorize). It’s available for streaming and download HERE. It kicks massive ass, too.
A final note: If you buy the vinyl at Entrapment’s Bandcamp page, then you’ll get an immediate download of the two Entrapment tracks, but there’s no digital-only option. Pyre’s Bandcamp page allows streaming of the tracks, but no download option at all. I know that bands like Pyre and Entrapment (and labels like Soulseller) aren’t doing what they do for the money, because there’s precious little money to be made from a split project like this. But I still hope that, at least when the vinyl is all gobbled up by discerning fans, all of this music will become available for download on Bandcamp. More people would buy it if that were to happen, and the music would spread — because it’s really good metal.
Stacked up below are helpful links, streams of the music on the split, and a photo of the vinyl package.