Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dark Ritualistic Cacophony: Mitochondrion - Parasignosis

We're winding down towards the end of the year. I need to step up my posting. My goal was to hit at least twenty posts hopefully summarizing 2011 for me in music, but it's tough considering I've listened to so much music and there's not a lot of time for reviews. Thus I'll try to summarize in the next few posts what I feel were some of the better albums of 2011.

Parasignosis was set for an early 2011 release but leaked in late 2010, making it memorable this December because I was listening to it fervently around this time last year. This album shows a rather large progression in Mitochondrion's sound coming from the more primitive Archaeaeon, which is one of my favorite albums for that reason alone. On Parasignosis there's a more cohesive album theme, the rhythmic qualities of Archaeaeon's stellar riffing are downplayed for more "impressive" guitar embellishments, and those layered vocals are as colossal as ever.

The driving theme behind Parasignosis is a dense, dark ritualism stemming from a sort of self-empowerment. Sounds almost like a near-bestial self-help book right? "Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus" as I guess tracks 1-3 are formally titled sets the ritual in motion with a collection of droning riffs, bizarre leads, and even bells. Part III - "Tetravirulence" is undoubtedly one of the greatest tracks of 2011 and easily the best on the album with it's absolutely mesmerizing collection of cult chanting and drone riffs layered on a titanic slab of black death metal. This track summarizes Parasignosis pretty well and is surprisingly powerful lyrically too (yes I give a shit about lyrics in metal). All three parts deal with the concept of quelling inner sadness and negativity, progressing to an "enlightened" state through ritualism.

The drone aspect of certain tracks really nails this ritualistic theme home. The last half of the title track is a great example of this, as is "Banishment (Undecaphosphoric)." The last twenty or so minutes of Parasignosis really capitalize on this with "Kathenotheism" and the odd choice out "Ambient Outro." I still question as to what possessed Mitochondrion of all bands to have an ambient outro on one of their albums, but it serves as a decent if overly long and forgettable conclusion to one of the more dense death metal albums of 2011.

The production here is intense. It almost has an "epic" feeling, with all the chanting and the immense multi-layered vocals. The guitars are more present in the mix than they were on Archaeaeon, however the riffs are not nearly as memorable or as evocative. I feel like on Archaeaeon, the music worked best as individual instruments and as a cohesive structure, while on Parasignosis there's only a lot of the latter. I guess that would make Parasignosis the more cohesive experience, but an arguably weaker one.

9.25 out of 10


1. Plague Evockation (Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus Part I)

2. Lex Ego Exitium (Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus Part II)

3. Tetravirulence (Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus Part III)

4. Trials

5. Rift/Apex

6. Parasignosis

7. Banishment (Undecaphosphoric)

8. Kathenotheism

9. Untitled
10. Untitled
11. Untitled (Ambient Outro)

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