Rating:
8.4
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


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.

To their credit, the music in Psilocybe Larvae is indeed a bit dark sounding, and does separate themselves from the usual progressive melodic death crowd like In Mourning. The darkness is not only brought about in terms of clean "atmospheric" segments or synthy backdrops, but there's a certain menacing quality in quite a lot of the riffs, which I'm happy to say sounds quite original. Esteemed Metal Storm reviewer Lucas noted about the music being occasionally "pointless and directionless" in their last release. While the same problem is still present, such moments have been reduced significantly and I found the band has become considerably more engaging in The Labyrinth Of Penumbra. And when the music is on a roll, they really hit you hard - just listen to the track "Shining Shambahla" and you'll know what I mean. From the catchy clean chorus to that odd dissonance, it really captures one's attention. Then they continue bowling you over with a slightly folky section before throwing in a solo, string together something you'd find in an avant-garde album for a bit and leave you breathless with their death metal riffing. And so onů you get the idea. Or not. So just listen to it!

What we have here is a pretty diverse record that's also cohesive. Perhaps the musicians have finally had some magic shrooms when writing the album and had a Mario-esque power-up. It's evident that Psilocybe Larvae has found their own sound this time around, and managed to keep individual tracks distinctive without spoiling the whole picture. In a sub-genre where most have been writing off as being squeezed dry, Psilocybe Larvae has found a firm foothold, making it among the standouts of the melodic death / Gothenburg scene that shouldn't be missed, especially if you want something that breaks the formula set up by the likes of Amon Amarth, Dark Tranquillity and In Mourning.

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


Band profile: Psilocybe Larvae
Album: The Labyrinth Of Penumbra


 



Written on 04.01.2013 by
Ag Fox
Ag Fox loves listening to music but is far from being a prolific writer. This corner just shows how territorial he is.
More reviews by Ag Fox ››

Staff review by
Apothecary

Rating:
8.5
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.

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published 30.12.2012 | Comments (25)



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BloodTears - 04.01.2013 at 12:33  
I'm gonna be an In Mourning fangirl now I disagree when you refer to them as having a "formula" or being part of the "usual crowd" in prog death. I think their new album is far superior to this one (yes, I know many people hate it) and In Mourning are a "different kind" of band. They stand out from the rest by having their own sound and actually experimenting.

Other than that, your review is fine eheh I haven't however seen the big thing about this album yet, maybe a few more listens will bring something new, but it's just good for me at this point. I guess I had unreasonable expectations going in.
Ag Fox - 04.01.2013 at 14:15  
Written by BloodTears on 04.01.2013 at 12:33

I'm gonna be an In Mourning fangirl now I disagree when you refer to them as having a "formula" or being part of the "usual crowd" in prog death. I think their new album is far superior to this one (yes, I know many people hate it) and In Mourning are a "different kind" of band. They stand out from the rest by having their own sound and actually experimenting.
You must have misunderstood me. I refer to In Mourning as one of the creators of a successful formula.
Amon Amarth = traditional style
Dark Tranquillity = Gothenburg style
In Mourning = progressive style

and the 99% of the scene tends to follow the trend setters mentioned above. Instead of In Mourning as following any one else.
What I'm trying to bring out is that Psilocybe Larvae has managed to branch out from those 3 established acts instead of just copying.
BloodTears - 04.01.2013 at 14:19  
Oh, okay! I guess I did misunderstand you. I'm glad we agree then
TRPB - 04.01.2013 at 18:18  
This is a good album. Nice review. I put the band on notice that this release in the USA seems to be out of stock everywhere, including their principal distributor. They weren't very happy about that.
LordFezzington - 07.01.2013 at 22:47  
Turns out this is a really solid album, think I'll be buying when I get a chance. Definitely plenty of its own character about it as well. Thanks Ag.
Amadeya Schmidt - 05.02.2013 at 14:43  
Penumbra is coming! 10 points from Estonia \m/

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