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June 21

Let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good back story with their daily breakfast? I know I certainly do, but sometimes you come across something so different and abstract that you may spit one or two of your Coco Pops back into the bowl.

Which is exactly what I did while reading the accompanying press release that comes with the debut album from industrial hip-hop/synth-punk outfit Pyramid Mission.

In a nutshell, it relates the tale of two people (Gio Ra – vocals, production and Saint Quentin drums, percussion) who, before they even met, had the same recurring dream of a God within the Internet speaking to them. These whispered secrets and revelations compelled them to transmute these ethereal messages into music, which they channelled into their debut album, Spit in the Eye, which will be released on June 21.

Admittedly still a little pissed that the band had cost me two kernels of Coco Pops that had missed the bowl and still lay somewhere on the lounge room floor, my inquisitive nature ultimately got the better of me and I hit play to see just how close to the edge of reality Pyramid Mission really are.

Opener TowerDown has a healthy mix of instrumentalization that swirls and spins in a regulated pattern atop a range of electronics that weave in and out of consciousness at a comfortable irregularity. The vocals are a commanding blend of hip hop and rapier moments, but already I am sensing Spit In The Eye will be an album more about the feel and texture of its aesthetics rather than a vocal-dominated production.

Church starts with some Battlestar Galactica type vibes that rapidly transform into an intergalactic-influenced jam where time meets space and nothing in between. This is a pretty cool track, speeding up haphazardly with an electronic breakdown of sorts that is surprisingly awesome.

The vocals are a little fuzzy on this track – probably deliberately so – and it has a slight R & B flavour at its core that rises to the surface fleetingly before chaos reigns around it, forcing a hasty retreat. I will be honest with you right now in saying this is not even close to the sort of music I would normally listen to, but for some reason I find myself unable to say a bad word about it.

Let’s see if that continues over the album’s 12 tracks…

Picture Of You With The Color Inverted has an ominous intro, showcasing the more industrial side of Pyramid Mission. But it’s obvious their heart lay with the hip hop a touch more as the vocals enter the fray and cover the landscape. The electronics continue to shuffle in the background and for some reason my mind goes back to the new Mad Max movie that I saw only last week.

Dysfunction (Legitimate Psyciatric Emergency) opens with a stuttering vocal line that is soon sent packing by a chorus of cries about dysfunction that usher in a rapid-fire bout of vocals that is unexpected but highly welcome. This track is like a hip-hop version of Mr. Bungle with the amount of eclectic time changes and signatures layered everywhere.

This is cool as fuck and even has shades of bands like Snot running through its veins. A whole album full of songs like this would be a banger!

But to their credit, Pyramid Mission change things up again, with HEX offering up a dance beat that quickly gathers momentum before retreating into itself and paving the way for a bout of electronic samples that could be straight out of the Flashdance era. Then things change again to a more hip/hop style Compton number that oozes attitude and contempt. We even get a taste of harmonious balance in places, but HEX is definitely on the opposite side of the musical spectrum to Dysfunction.

Descend x Disappear throws a massive curveball with a piano and acoustic-sounding intro, accentuated by a refreshing undercurrent of ambience that could almost be from the soundtrack of a murder/mystery whodunnit. It is a highly atmospheric and whimsical track that provides a chance for pause and reflection of what has come before and what could possibly come in the future.

Hellclap sounds like something I could get right into, but a wave of industrialism superseded by a rap-infused vocal delivery soon tempers my enthusiasm. Then I get to thinking, why the fuck should metal be the only genre who can clap in Hell? Which still doesn’t help me get into this one – more through my own snobbish taste in music than the music itself.

The Haze Of Aquarius could well be the soundtrack to my life, and begins in the same fashion with a rising and confused electronic intro. This is quickly replaced by a space invaders type track that floats of its own volition, bouncing from sonic plane to sonic plane almost with an air of arrogance as it shuffles and soars onwards and upwards.

Another decent track, but I think I have been tarnished by the epicness of Dysfunction to the point that everything else is relegated to supporting roles.

Seeing I am off to Japan in just a couple of days, 1000 Pound Deadlift, with its swirl of Japanese writing at the end of the song title, sounds enticing but so far I haven’t heard anything even resembling K Pop.
Instead, this is an industrial-driven track offset by stuttering electronics that entice more rapid-fire vocals that aren’t quite as hostile as you-know-what-track but still offer enough by way of aggression and spite to bring a smile to my face.

There’s a cool mix of distortion, electronics, samples and intent in this track. It’s all over the shop musically and has a steady but infectious beat that could almost get me up dancing.

If I danced.

Speaking of dancing, Dancing With The Void opens quietly but soon increases the pace as a sonic blast of electronic fills the air before inducing an up-tempo and forceful slab of music that is fast as fuck musically. Samples come and go, but it’s when the vocals explode intermittently that Dancing With The Void hits the spot.

Guaranteed to get the crowd bouncing, this one. But not me.

Blue Flame Candle starts what sounds like a violin (but is definitely a string instrument) floating into the ether with a calming and almost spiritual passage of music that could almost be the gateway to another realm. There’s a very Middle Eastern vibe going on here with the delicate sounds of the forest beatifying the sonic landscape while swirls of serenity wash over everything they touch. Fuck me, what am I even saying right now?

But it is kinda cool.

Pyramid closes out the album and breathes life with an urgent electronic pattern that could almost be the sounds of drums given the right situation. As that subsides the vocals kick in, spat at a rapid rate of knots while the shimmering bout of electronic rage simmers almost subliminally beneath.

The song goes through differing stages of musical expression and is the ideal summation of an album that covers a heap of territory musical without relying on drums, bass and guitar, which would generally have me scream bloody murder and kicking my heels up in disgust but not this time for some reason.

It has actually been refreshing to listen through a full album of music from a blending of genres I usually don’t even know exist. And what’s more, I made it to the end, which has to say something!

Would I personally order myself a copy of Spit In The Eye? Honestly, probably not, but that’s more down to my tunnel-visioned view of music than anything else.

What I can and will say is it has opened my eyes slightly when it comes to electronic-based hip-hop music. Which can only be a good thing in the grand scheme of things.

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