Rating:
8.5
Psilocybe Larvae - The Labyrinth Of Penumbra
5 November 2012


01. Soul Trekking
02. Haunting
03. Shining Shambhala
04. Trial By Fire
05. Into The Labyrinth
06. Contemplation
07. Fortress Of Time
08. River Of Remembrance
09. No Escape


These days it sometimes seems that composition-wise the death metal scene has become pretty black and white. That is, you either have a band that sticks to the most generic formula of cookie-cutter death metal imaginable, a la a recycled version of Cannibal Corpse, or you have a band that goes for something blatantly left field to make a more original, creative impact, and rarely is a balance between these two separate camps to be found. One such band that have really made a great effort at the experimental structure are Russia's Psilocybe Larvae, who, as their name suggests, manage to craft with their unique brand of death metal a truly interesting result that "takes you places," to say the least, and their latest offering, 2012's Labyrinth Of Penumbra, is an excellent contribution to their aggressive, yet strangely psychedelic, sound.

Labyrinth Of Penumbra is an excellent album for those (like myself) who like their extreme metal served with a splash of an epic, heavily melodic atmosphere thrown in here and there. The album kicks off with "Soul Trekking," and it would appear at first that Labyrinth Of Penumbra is like any other death metal album, fast riffs and harsh vocals galore. But then in come the little whispers underscored by a xylophone and bass melody at around 3 minutes in, and the brief (yet effective) ambience they add to the song structure as a whole is enough to tell you that Psilocybe Larvae aren't your average death metal band.

If nothing else, what really sells the package of Labyrinth Of Penumbra, then, are the melodies and overall rhythm structures. You're not going to find any super-fast blast beat widdly-diddly picking kinda stuff here, but in a way that makes the music more enjoyable: a lot simpler to mellow out to, less complicated to fully absorb, and, especially during the album's more trippy, space-like moments, quite easy to just sit back and get lost in. This sense of melody also carries over to the guitar solos as well, which aren't anything overtly grandiose or technical like the playing of Pat O'Brien or Christian Muenzner (no hate on them, they're both excellent guitarists), but rather a lot more relaxed and chord-based, in a very pleasing style that's actually quite reminiscent of classic psychedelic rock (check out the one towards the end of "Haunting" in particular).

In essence, Labyrinth Of Penumbra is also all about balance. Psilocybe Larvae never really lean too far in one direction with this album, and the mix between the more aggressive moments of the growled vocals and faster riffs ("Trial By Fire," "River Of Remembrance") is offset by the clean vocals and melodic riffs ("Shining Shambhala," "Fortress of Time") quite well. This album is a great offering by yet another extreme metal band that thankfully seem to not have lost a sense of including some more epic, creative moments within the traditionally more harsh and orthodox sound of their style, to wonderful effect. Highly recommended for fans of Enslaved, Obscura, and Esoteric. If you like epic extreme metal, git on it y'all!

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Psilocybe Larvae
Album: The Labyrinth Of Penumbra


 



Written on 30.12.2012 by
Apothecary
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a master. But without innovation, it is a corpse."
-Winston Churchill
More reviews by Apothecary ››

Staff review by
Ag Fox

Rating:
8.4
Whoever invented the term "Dark Metal" must be some sort of marketing genius, because whenever this genre categorisation gets brought up, I get drawn to it like a moth to a flame no matter how many times I end up feeling let down. Psilocybe Larvae is also a self-proclaimed dark metal act, but I am already familiar with the band's previous effort and had a better idea of what to expect, which is a progressive form of melodic death metal.

Read more ››
published 04.01.2013 | Comments (6)



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Susan - 30.12.2012 at 17:31  
Good death metal that's kinda psychedelic, mellow, with atmosphere, and trippy, space-like moments? God damn! You're speaking my language!!
!J.O.O.E.! - 30.12.2012 at 17:45  
Written by Susan on 30.12.2012 at 17:31

Good death metal that's kinda psychedelic, mellow, with atmosphere, and trippy, space-like moments? God damn! You're speaking my language!!

That sounds almost too good to be true, along with their excellent name.
Susan - 30.12.2012 at 18:02  
Found them on facebook and they call themselves "dark/doom/death/progressive metal." I can hear all of those things in the excellent samples on bandcamp and youtube. Sweet find!
Apothecary - 30.12.2012 at 18:09  
Written by Susan on 30.12.2012 at 17:31

Good death metal that's kinda psychedelic, mellow, with atmosphere, and trippy, space-like moments? God damn! You're speaking my language!!

Yup, that's pretty much it! Definitely one for the collection if you like unique death metal, they run circles around all the same old/same old bands cranking out simple formulaic death metal these days
DelightfulJim - 30.12.2012 at 19:05  
Yep, I'll be giving this a look at then!
Unhealer - 30.12.2012 at 19:40  
Honeymoon.
schizodelight - 30.12.2012 at 20:24  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 30.12.2012 at 17:45

Written by Susan on 30.12.2012 at 17:31

Good death metal that's kinda psychedelic, mellow, with atmosphere, and trippy, space-like moments? God damn! You're speaking my language!!

That sounds almost too good to be true, along with their excellent name.


And that artwork. 1.5 minutes through "Soul Trekking", I need this album already.
Dark Forever - 30.12.2012 at 21:56  
I don't know why but I found this album weaker than Non-Existence. Still, it has very interesting moments, overall a good album.
DelightfulJim - 31.12.2012 at 06:03  
This was pretty fucking good!
Mattybu - 31.12.2012 at 11:21  
I like that squiggly thing on the album cover. Gotta love squigglies of all varieties
!J.O.O.E.! - 31.12.2012 at 12:25  
Written by Mattybu on 31.12.2012 at 11:21

I like that squiggly thing on the album cover. Gotta love squigglies of all varieties

Fuckin' squiggly things. How do they work?
Apothecary - 31.12.2012 at 13:36  
Written by Mattybu on 31.12.2012 at 11:21

I like that squiggly thing on the album cover. Gotta love squigglies of all varieties

Lol... when I first saw that, I thought it was the band trying to artistically represent the "Psilocybe Larvae" of their nme... i dunno, who knows what it's meant to symbolize?
s_t_s - 31.12.2012 at 16:06  
Thanks to you, I could listen to a band I didn't know before and so far I love what I'm listening to ! They sometimes remind me of Enslaved or Dark Fortress which is good sign to me !
Apothecary - 31.12.2012 at 21:47  
Written by s_t_s on 31.12.2012 at 16:06

Thanks to you, I could listen to a band I didn't know before and so far I love what I'm listening to ! They sometimes remind me of Enslaved or Dark Fortress which is good sign to me !

Glad to help
s_t_s - 01.01.2013 at 15:29  
Written by Apothecary on 31.12.2012 at 21:47

Written by s_t_s on 31.12.2012 at 16:06

Thanks to you, I could listen to a band I didn't know before and so far I love what I'm listening to ! They sometimes remind me of Enslaved or Dark Fortress which is good sign to me !

Glad to help


Thanks again, finally decided to order this album right away. Should I also check their early works ? You can PM me if you have other good bands names in mind
Larv - 02.01.2013 at 14:33  
Hi there! Thanks to Apothecary for the great review!

s_t_s, you can order the CD through http://e-shop.season-of-mist.com/en/items/psilocybe-larvae/the-labyrinth-of-penumbra/cd/33419

Happy new metal year!!!!! \m/
s_t_s - 21.01.2013 at 14:57  
Definitely a very good album, tho it's more melodic than death into the melodeath family. Anyway any metal listener who likes album with character should like this one !
Mr. Doctor - 25.02.2013 at 15:33  
Someone must be the partypooper, so I'll just do my job asap:
Don't misunderstand I enjoyed it... I just wonder what the hell were you thinking when you wrote ESOTERIC in your review. Even the whole name dropping "Enslaved, Obscura, and Esoteric" looks completely random.
Apothecary - 25.02.2013 at 15:34  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.02.2013 at 15:33

Someone must be the partypooper, so I'll just do my job asap:
Don't misunderstand I enjoyed it... I just wonder what the hell were you thinking when you wrote ESOTERIC in your review. Even the whole name dropping "Enslaved, Obscura, and Esoteric" looks completely random.

Just kinda trying to say that if you like epic, somewhat progressive extreme metal, you'll most likely enjoy Psilocybe Larvae
Mr. Doctor - 25.02.2013 at 15:44  
Written by Apothecary on 25.02.2013 at 15:34
Just kinda trying to say that if you like epic, somewhat progressive extreme metal, you'll most likely enjoy Psilocybe Larvae


Well yeah I can see that. But it also applies to a heck of a lot of bands, all sounding completely different so it feels like an empty statement and also slightly missleading sicne someone who enjoys Esoteric won't find anything related here even though you can use extreme and epic for both (never considered Esoteric progressive though...).
Apothecary - 25.02.2013 at 16:18  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.02.2013 at 15:44

It also applies to a heck of a lot of bands, all sounding completely different so it feels like an empty statement and also slightly missleading sicne someone who enjoys Esoteric won't find anything related here even though you can use extreme and epic for both (never considered Esoteric progressive though...).

Perhaps I should have said Obscura, Enslaved, and Atheist? Not many bands that compare to Psilocybe Larvae on a specific level, so I just went a bit more broad with some other extreme prog bands that blend the intensity with an epic atmosphere. I mentioned Esoteric because Labyrinth Of Penumbra has something of the surreal, dreamlike atmosphere to it that they conjure (albeit to a lesser degree, but it's definitely there).
Mr. Doctor - 25.02.2013 at 16:47  
Written by Apothecary on 25.02.2013 at 16:18
I mentioned Esoteric because Labyrinth Of Penumbra has something of the surreal, dreamlike atmosphere to it that they conjure (albeit to a lesser degree, but it's definitely there).


I also get a strong, surreal and dream-like atmosphere from Mar De Grises, which is obviously nothing like Psilocybe Larvae (Yeah, I totally ctrl+c/v that name ) or Esoteric.
I guess this is just me, since even if two bands give me an atmosphere that I would describe with the same words, that doesn't mean to me that they are similar in any way. I'm getting a deja-vu feeling, since I reached the same conclusion with your Wormlust/Oranssi Pazuzu comparison.

This is an example of how I read this discussion:
Alcest is a band I'd recommend for Drudkh fans... Because both of them have an atmosphere with a woods-friendly, sometimes folky, natural feeling!
It does work with the word-matching but nothing more than that.

EDIT: Since this is the second time we have a similar discussion, hopefully I'm not coming across as an asshole.
Apothecary - 25.02.2013 at 20:32  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.02.2013 at 16:47

EDIT: Since this is the second time we have a similar discussion, hopefully I'm not coming across as an asshole.

Arguing a point with intelligently-presented evidence isn't being an asshole
And yeah, I definitely see where you're coming from. Some bands though definitely have more in common than others though. Ya know, like I would recommend Psilocybe Larvae for fans of Esoteric before I'd say "hey, you should check this band if you like The Faceless"
Mr. Doctor - 25.02.2013 at 23:57  
Written by Apothecary on 25.02.2013 at 20:32
Ya know, like I would recommend Psilocybe Larvae for fans of Esoteric before I'd say "hey, you should check this band if you like The Faceless"

Well, The Faceless DID step up their game with the last album though... XP
Apothecary - 26.02.2013 at 00:13  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 25.02.2013 at 23:57

Well, The Faceless DID step up their game with the last album though... XP

It was good, but I still prefer Planetary Duality, personally

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