Abaddon magazine

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Senzar – Pyre of Throes

Label: Self released

Date: March 21st, 2022

Is there a point in talking about a certain Irish sound in extreme metal? I don’t mean bagpipes and the all-too-familiar Celtic folk, but an actual type of metal that is coming from the island. Just like we had with Norwegians or Greeks in the 1990’s. It would be something Primordial brought to the global attention. As opposed to the mentioned scenes, Irish one never quite gained broad popularity or overwhelming mainstream success. Not to mention an extensive bandwagon.

But there is a number of bands that more or less successfully managed to capture the atmosphere of soggy valleys of Ireland. Senzar being one of the latest examples.

Now, to make myself absolutely clear straight from the top, Senzar are far from being a bland copy of their more famous countrymen. I’m saying they simply use the Primordial foundation to build upon a sound that is familiar, but somehow strange and discomforting to the listener.

It’s as if Primordial stands in the low fog of the valley, staring at the unsurmountable peaks ahead, but Senzar, standing next to them, looks to those mountainous heights ripping apart the cosmic plain. That whisper in the middle of “Zenith”, repeating “higher, higher, higher” somewhat depicts that image. The sole fact that the song stands in the center of the record could explain its title perfectly.

Still, the record does not fade in the second half. At least not musically, even if the lyrical themes tell of the slow decline. On the other side, the opener, “Alderbaran’s Shine” leads you into a darkened extreme metal whirlwind with an almost acoustic innuendo that flows into a sluggish electrification, raising the pace slowly but surely to the “finish line”.

Fulfilling my thoughts of creation and dissolving, the second track is titled “Cosmogenesis”. And so on, and so forth. Seems to me like “Pyre of Throes” is a completed parabola. Of course, this is a loose and quite personal understanding. I didn’t get a chance to peek at the lyrics.

Regardless of my insight, a question remains about how this quartet from Dublin managed to paint such a stellar audio painting.

To tell of a concrete musical genre is almost impossible. The official info page tells of a dark blackened metal. That is not a much pinpointed description, but I would go even broader in mine. I’ll call it dark extreme metal. Come to think of it, is there light extreme metal? Never mind.

As for the influences, you need to keep Primordial in the back of your mind at all times. Yet, one needs to include names such as Nightfall, for instance. Mayhem, perhaps, but in their more recent outings. It’s that deeply negative viewpoint in harmonies and melancholic melodic approach those bands are known for (in Mayhem’s case, regarding the past fifteen years).

There is also a seamless Scandinavian impact when Senzar opts for a clearer black metal approach. But even in those cases, they do not go for the primal musical solutions. I would mention bands such as Dissection, Enslaved (without the Viking touch) or Satyricon.

Melodic death metal, some traditional doom metal… Senzar keeps an open mind at all times and at all costs, to serve the individual track alive and very much dynamic. As the individual tracks, so the album as a whole has a definitive storyline which also acts like a sum of its parts. Like one of those records that I would really hate listening on a tape or vinyl, having to stop to flip sides. “Pyre of Throes” flows so good that it would be a shame to have to pause it even just for a couple of seconds.

As for the instrumental part, there really is no point in singling any of them out of the entirety of soundscape. However, I would like to call your attention to the rhythm section. Not so much for the virtuosity of performance on the record, since each instrument involved is clearly in the hands of a capable musician. Including the versatile vocalist.

It’s not even a question of mixing, mastering or production work and their intention of bringing the often overlooked instruments into the forefront. It is the sheer creativity displayed in bass and drums activity behind the obvious guitars. The inventiveness of drum patterns and a bass line that much more than occasionally takes the torch and carries Senzar to heights of Mount Everest, so few have seen in their lifetime.

Still, Senzar is a whole. An entity which debuts with “Pyre of Throes”, promising to be a monolith of highly sophisticated extreme metal. The future is firmly in their hands, as the band has proven to take their time to present a complete work of art. The collective mind at work, as offered on this album, has nowhere to go but up.