Album Title: Parasignosis
Label: Profound Lore
This album has one of the heaviest productions I've heard in a long time: the vomited vocals, non-stop bass, crunchy guitars, and thundering drums are almost overwhelming. Fortunately, it's also easy to make out what's going on, as the riffs and drum patterns are just loud enough to stand out. The otherworldly keys are also perfect -- they're not too loud and not too soft, and never interfere with the guitar. I wish the lead guitars were a little louder at times, though. Some of the solos get slightly lost in the background, as during the beginning of "Plague Evockation". I'm sure this is a deliberate effect, as many of the other solos are quite loud, but I'd still have preferred a little more emphasis on these.
The songwriting on this record is both more technical and more organic than on Mitochondrion's first album, Archaeaeon -- the song structures here are much more ambitious, yet they flow in a natural, almost inevitable way. The tempo changes, breaks, and unusual elements (such as the use of a tambourine) are entirely convincing, and the album is powerfully cohesive as a whole. The best example is the first three songs, which form a seventeen-minute suite: the crunching swagger of "Plague Evockation", "Lex Ego Exitium"'s odd, Rites of thy Degringolade-esque lead work, and the pummelling madness that is "Tetravirulence" complement each other perfectly. The band's command of theme is exceptional, as is the use of vocal timing -- whenever I listen I'm entirely absorbed by the otherworldly atmosphere and seemingly-endless procession of unique riffs. It's really hard to put this record on in the background: what Mitochondrion is doing simply demands my attention every time. "Trials" is another great example. It's rhythmic yet brutal, with tons of shocking stops and tempo changes. The main riff here is catchy as hell, the drum work is exceptional, and the relatively-understandable vocals at the end are perfect, also. The title track is equally good, packed with weird outer-space sounds, crazy pick-slides, and audible bass lines; the middle section might just be the best thing on the album. Parts of this are so chaotic they almost sound as if the band is fighting itself, yet the song flows on! I especially like the slow section on "Banishment (Undecaphosphoric)", but the Morbid Angel style guitar work here is convincing in its own right, as are the echoing vocals. "Kathenotheism" closes the album with a descent into doom -- time to light your bowl again! -- over a ton of clever, varied drumming. As with the first album, I don't personally care for the ambient outro which follows... but this band has more than earned the right to experiment!
Parasignosis is light-years beyond anything most bands are doing these days. Mitochondrion's blend of technicality, atmosphere, and sheer METAL is unmatched, to the point where this record may eventually be regarded as a classic of chaotic Canadian metal. Highest recommendations.
Standout Tracks: "Plague Evockation/Lex Ego Exitium/Tetravirulence", "Trials", "Parasignosis"