One phrase that hipsters hate to utter -- especially if they're over 30 -- is, "All of their songs sound alike." It's the type of phrase that makes you feel like you're turning into your parents. But in some cases, those words really do apply. The material on Cruelty Beyond Submission, for example, is quite samey; after the first two or three tracks, the listener has pretty much heard it all. Pyrexia's turf is death metal/black metal, and the New Yorkers offer the usual death metal ingredients -- insanely fast tempos, extremely dark lyrics, and a satanic, growling, larynx-shredding vocal style that makes those lyrics difficult or impossible to understand. There is nothing distinctive about Cruelty Beyond Submission, which isn't to say that this CD is without merit. For those who have acquired a taste for extreme metal, Cruelty Beyond Submission offers a certain exhilaration; this high-speed material could easily bring a mosh pit to life. And while Pyrexia is hardly the most original band in the metal world, no one could accuse Cruelty Beyond Submission of being dull or uninspired. Besides, complaining about the lack of originality or the fact that the lyrics are indecipherable sort of misses the point; Pyrexia and similar death metal bands are about entertainment value and over-the-top energy, not finesse or musicality. Critiquing this album on a technique level is like asking whether or not wrestling is fake or griping about how campy and unbelievable the storylines can be on Days of Our Lives -- it's like complaining because a slasher movie isn't as thought-provoking as Taxi Driver or A Bronx Tale. In other words, Pyrexia never claimed that Cruelty Beyond Submission or any of their other releases were meant to be as intricate as Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime; that isn't the sort of thing they're going for. Cruelty Beyond Submission is what it is: a likably raw and energetic, if predictable, exercise in high-speed bombast.
Cruelty Beyond Submission Review
by Alex Henderson