Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mitochondrion: Parasignosis (2011)

Mitochondrion is a Canadian death metal band signed to Profound Lore. I know I whore that label a lot, but it's with good reason. The band's second full-length, Parasignosis, is one of the strangest (and best) albums you'll hear all year.

ParasignosisTheir sound is almost impossible to describe because it's so unusual and unique. How do you explain what (PL labelmates) Portal sounds like? Or Demilich? The terms "crazy", "bizarre", "experimental", and "completely fucked up" just scratch the surface. And those two bands are really the closest things out there to explain what Mitochondrion is all about.

The music is built on technicality, progressive song structures, unusual (and heavy) riffs, bizarre solos, strong drumming, and demon-vomit vocals. But despite being built on technicality and progressivism, where it succeeds is not in its "wow" factor, but in its disorienting, fear-invoking atmosphere. The vocals are generally buried in the mix, and the solos may be buried or brought to the forefront, seemingly without any reason one way or the other.

The first three tracks (comprising a single 17 minute song) perfectly illustrate the approach, but other highlights include "Trials" and the title track. "Rift/Apex" serves as a strange sort of interlude. Closing out the album are "Kathenotheism", a slower track with a lot of feedback, a couple of ambient 10 second tracks, and a 10 minute ambient outro. Oddly enough, the outro seems like a necessary part of the whole experience, providing time to reflect without allowing your sense of bewilderment to abate.

The Verdict: Mitochondrion is one of a very small group of bands making death metal this mind-bending, and they do it well. They're not quite as good as Portal, but they're good enough in their own right. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. This is one that I have been looking forward to. Unfortunately, starting my own practice has left me a bit strapped for cash. I have to spend wisely. This looks like one that will be worth it.