|Pryapisme – ‘Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium’ (Apathia Records)|
|Written by Rich Hobson|
|Monday, 27 February 2017 05:30|
“Beware ye who follow this path, for here lies madness”. Or at least, that’s how ‘Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium’ should start. Because madness (or to give it a full and proper title – “The Grand Duke of batshit aural acrobatics”) is most definitely what you will find on this album as it meanders through the likes of avant-garde, prog, jazz, video-game music and even disco in its 56 minute run-time.
The third full-length release by French maniacal maestros Pryapisme, ‘Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium’ is most definitely not an album for the casual rock fan. Right from the classical oriental guitar sound that opens ‘Un Max De Croco’, the listener’s ears are dropped into a world of sonic experimentation previously inhabited by the likes of Mr Bungle, Fantomas and John Zorn. In practical terms, that makes this album closer to a piece of freeform jazz than to your average three-and-a-half verse/chorus/verse rock banger.
Almost entirely instrumental, the album ping-pongs around a disparate landscape of sounds and styles. At points songs combine hip-hop style scratching, jazz piano and trombone, only to suddenly break out into a funk rock segment that would do Skindred proud. The end result is unfocused and eclectic, not unlike a Frank Zappa composition. Played with a similar zeal and steadfast approach to musical insanity, Pryapisme are able to create a humorously ridiculous combination of individual ingredients for a cyanide-laced sugary overload.
Conceived as a concept album around the advent of the Era of the Cat, Pryapisme come closer to communicating their story than you would expect of an entirely experimental instrumental group. The flow of the album is entirely unpredictable, but if imagined as a Tom & Jerry cartoon being chased through various tabs of the internet, the album almost makes a twisted kind of sense. Gonzo to the nth degree, the album is at its most virtuoso when indulging its jazz tendencies, most eclectic when incorporating video-game music into its own compositions.
‘Tau Ceti Central’ in particular has flavours of a latter-day jazz record, a neo-noir composition which is somewhat shattered when an extreme metal segment bursts in at the two-and-three-quarter minute marker. Perhaps the album’s most bizarre (and oddly nostalgia-inducing) track is ‘Tete Du Museau Dans Le Boudoir (Intermezzo)’ a track which builds to a video-game centric crescendo around sound effects from Sonic, Super Mario and Banjo Kazooie.
Most surprisingly, ‘Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium’ doesn’t drag for its 56 minutes, constantly changing up so that the listener never truly has a moment to adjust. In the grand scheme of things, the album is unlikely to make any critics’ end of year lists. Nor will it make a fan of all but the most dedicated listener. Instead, Pryapisme are a band for the nerds out there (both musical and pop-cultural), a frothing stew of different ideas and styles that somehow manage to induce a big grin or two along the way.
Do not operate heavy machinery whilst listening, steer well clear of any psychedelics.
‘Diabolicus Felinae Pandemonium’ is out now.
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