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Qrixkuor – ‘Poison Palinopsia’

Publisher
Dark Descent Records
FFO
Portal, Morbid Angel
Release Date
August 13, 2021
Publisher
Dark Descent Records
Genre
Death Metal

Qrixkuor releases their first full length album, titled ‘Poison Palinopsia’ through Dark Descent Records. If you are not familiar with Qrixkuor they are a Death Metal outfit formed in 2011 hailing from the United Kingdom. Since then they have released two (2) demos, one (1) EP and a compilation album. Right off the get go, this album is a behemoth in terms of the length, with two(2) songs each clocking in around 24 minutes in length. So I’ll cut to the chase, ‘Poison Palinopsia’ is an immersive experience, it’s not an album, where you should listen to in portions, its one where it should be absorbed in its entirety. Another point to note, even though Qrixkuor can be listed as a Death Metal band, I think branding them under one genre does not do them justice as they experiment with different spirits within the realm of Extreme Metal, such as Black and Doom Metal. So…. How is the actual album? Let’s find out!

Picture this, you’re descending into the mind of one who’s in anguish and torture, you experience the very feeling that courses through this person’s core as you take one step closer into this downward spiral. This is how the album begins as you are immediately greeted with the ringing noise of darkened ambience that is conjured by medieval sounding instruments that swell in tone every second leading up to the first minute. It rises to a crescendo as the guitar which was faint at the beginning, scrapes louder and louder as the wall of sound etched with notes of despair closes in around the listener. Immediately, you become baptized in a discordance of noise, unbridled, relentless, raw…noise. If the sound were to be translated, it would take the form of a man clawing at the scalp, digging flesh, hair and blood in order to silence the voices, while nails break and tear against his skin. The first track, ‘Serpentine Susurrus’ as well as the album, expels a cacophony of emotions poured out by the instruments. Like warm blood soaked into snow, it may seem like a mindless splatter, but if one were to observe closely this ‘Rorschach’ of a pattern may hold much meaning within its intricate details.

This brings me to the instruments, while at first listen, the listener may be overwhelmed by the multitude of pulsating riffs as well as thunderous drums infused into one body. But this is actually a positive in regards to the song and the album as a whole. Even though the instrumentational aspect do not stand out as its own singular entity instead it opts for an atmospheric experience. Clocking in around 24 minutes, one may wonder if the track is captivating enough to hold the listener’s attention, the answer? Yes, absolutely, as stated before, this album is more so of an experience where it takes you upon a journey with every chord struck. A positive about ‘Serpentine Susurrus’(and the album) is that even though the essence is submerged in a frantic spiral of dissonance, there are many shades to the chaos. For instance, the guitars take a more occult like, ceremonial flavor, where the tone and rhythm slithers through the body of noise. Take for instance the guitars from 3:26 to 6:20, the sound evolves throughout this section as it rotates between your standard Black Metal tremolo picking as well as tapping, but the way the riffs are weaved into the sound, its done seamless, not so much as to drown the guitars within the ambience but just the right balance to make it oscillate throughout the song.

As you descend into these caverns, you will note the different rhythmic sections, for the album as a whole is not one straight forward Death Metal outfit. There many mixtures between Thrash, Black and even Doom Metal, but again, it’s the ambience that acts as the sinew to these structures that binds them together. The riff from 7:16 to 8:13 in ‘Recrudescent Malevolence’ is a rather hypnotic riff as it twists itself into a more blackened doom riff, which brings forth a state of entropy to the atmosphere that is summoned. Another highpoint with the riffs on ‘Recrudescent Malevolence’, appears on 18:16 mark to the 20:07 mark where a singular note is rung throughout the section accompanied with the frantic riffing akin to a more Morbid Angel flavor but morphs throughout as it slows down and takes a different shape. Overall, the riffs convey a flurry of emotions to them, as it takes singular notes as mentioned before and lays another riff engrained with chaos which drives the album further.

The drumming on the album evokes a raw, live quality to it, a positive, is that it blends into the riffs almost symbiotically keeping with the atmospheric theme of the album. The drumming feels unhinged in nature, as though a possessed being’s body is experiencing spasms and convulsions, writhing violently on the floor. Again, I mean this as a merit towards the album. For example, on ‘Recrudescent Malevolence’, the drumming on the 14:30 mark follows the trail of the spectral like riffing where the double bass resonates a slow booming sound together with the sharp snare, then 16 seconds into it, the beat evolves into a stentorian stylistic sounding blast beat then branches off into a slightly progressive tinged beat at the 15:23 mark. Just like the guitars the drumming dons different skins throughout the album that takes different shapes and forms in order to enhance the atmosphere. You may realize that I have not mentioned the vocals as yet, it’s because I wanted to save this for last, since it’s my favorite aspect of the album. While the instruments fashion and mold the intricate design that is the cataclysmic atmosphere, the vocals is the tongue that speaks life into this creation. If the jaws of a coffin could utter a verse, I’d imagine it sounding like this. As the voice of the album exudes a Death-Doom essence, mixed with the lungs of Black Metal. A highlight of the vocals is that the stylistic approach used here contorts into various figures, meaning, even though a low register growl is used for a majority, throughout the album there are bursts of emotions carved into the delivery.

Overall, in conclusion, I’ll be frank, I could see this album being quite a task for one to digest due to the lengthy size of the track. But the payoff is worth it, as it is sonic experience meandering with different twists and turn, carrying a sense of emotional depth within the corners. As such I would recommend this album for anyone in search of newer extreme content but with a more atmospheric spirit towards it. However, one thing I would advise to the listener is that the album isn’t simply one where it’s an easy press, play and listen, I truly think its best enjoyed when it has your undivided attention in that you can be engrossed in every note and vocal delivery that comes your way. To Qrixkuor, I bid you the best of luck with your future releases, may the black flame guide you throughout your journey!

*Originally written for Metal Temple

an album which requires the listener's undivided attention, but it is worth it.
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