Formed in San Diego, California, in 2019, Pire have already won a loyal following with their debut, Parasympathetic, which was unleashed on the world in 2020, to much critical acclaim. Since then, they have been busy working on a follow-up and now, in the summer of 2023, its here, and goes by the title of Grief World, a five-track, thirty-six minutes of punishing instrumental post-metal, which will leave you elated, or with more questions than answers.
Stepping away from a vocal monologue to the world, the band pour out all their collective feelings via this sonic soundtrack, where feeling of darkness, loss, and emptiness are felt in equal measure. At times it seems to pay homage to, in a weird kind of way, some of the sounds from the ‘70s, especially in the eclectic prog rock vein. There are bold elongated passages of intricated guitar work, which help narrate a kind of storyline, but I think the real beauty is the song titles allow you to draw your own conclusions from the soundtrack.
The four piece of Dillon Gieat, Aaron Queen, Sean Jones and Aaron Weislogel stick to the twin guitar, bass and drum structure, and work cleverly to pull out all the stops when necessary, and yet reign it in whenever they wish to add any elements of ambience or mystery.
Opening with the almost nine-minute-long The Sanctuary, my initial few minutes are spent drawing some comparison to Bossk, but it drops away from that vibe as it breaks down. A slow pensive start builds until there is a swift change in intensity at a couple of minutes in, and this seems to be the first of many gear shifts throughout the track. It reeks of doomy post-rock, and as the drudgy goodness rumbles through, by its climax I’m left wondering if, or where, any sanctuary even was. For me personally, it is far from a feeling of sanctuary, but maybe where I find my sanctuary is most likely in a different place altogether.
The Tension starts in a slow dirge-y manner, but that atmospheric feeling isn’t a standard for the whole track, because there are times when it is also incredibly heavier. When those appear, it takes on a far more menacing feel, and in all honestly, those moments are fully worth the wait. I guess being called The Tension you would be expecting a vibe of never-ending anxiousness, and I will say, on this piece, that’s totally true. Going on for what feels like an eternity, it has a constant feel to it, it could come crashing down at any moment, but holds back, and restrains itself, just enough to keep that never-ending feeling of stress going.
as dark as it is heavy…
The Stranger, track three, is a far shorter burst of music, and at just over two and a half minutes, it breaks up the longer tracks beautifully. It has a thunderous chug to it, which is both hard and abrasive, and yet says everything it needs to in a far shorter space of time indeed.
The Bridge steps back into the fold of just what this band is capable of, returning us to a world of longer, darker, and deeper depths of hell. Long drawn-out passages of doom drag us through this nightmare landscape, and as it flits between slower, introverted dankness, and harder, more abrasive segments, its clear that this is where the band feel most at home. The Journey closes the album, and as it does, solidifies everything that Pire are about.
Slower passages are both interesting and murky, while higher points are less disparaging than elsewhere. It slowly builds through the piece, and by halfway is ready to bring its true nature to the forefront. The intensity by this point is pretty powerful, and as it continues to chug to its climax, my interest is sparked on how they plan on finishing the opus. To my surprise, it isn’t one final burst, but instead drops off, into nothing.
Coming away from the album, everything felt like a great showpiece of a band well on their way to being a major player in the scene, and while I was always hoping for a few moments of growly goodness, provided by an overzealous front person, even without that, it still holds up incredibly well.
Treading ground on a sub-genre that is still relatively underground, it’s nice to see a band such as Pire taking on the challenge, and releasing something as dark as it is heavy.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish