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Over more than three decades, Germany's Pyogenesis have been a constant source of musical evolution. Though they began as death metal outfit Immortal Hate, celebrating gore-drenched violence during the late '80s, they shifted gears almost immediately. Three EPs issued during the early '90s --including the acclaimed 1992 offering Ignis Creatio -- reveled in the esoteric no man's land between doom and death metal. 1995's Sweet X-Rated Nothings was originally thought by fans to be a joke with its hooky alt-metal riffs, sampled porn dialogue, sweet vocal harmonies, and breakbeats! A year later, Twinaleblood left no doubt that the band had abandoned metal to play hardcore punk. In 1997, the charting Unpop offered a combination of melodic indie rock and pop-punk riffs, chanted female backing choruses, and sweeping keyboards. Until their split in 2002, the remainder of their recordings explored emo, shoegaze, and even nu-metal. When they re-emerged with the 2017 album A Kingdom to Disappear, they offered a meld of hooky, anthemic hard rock and death metal, weaving together clean and dirty vocals, angular riffs, and intensely catchy melodies. Pyogenesis were born in 1989 in Neckarbischofsheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany as Immortal Hate. A group of school friends, the original lineup included guitarists/vocalists Flo Schwarz and Tim Eiermann, bassist Joe Proell, and drummer Pit Mule. They changed their name to Pyogenesis for their initial demo, Ode to the Churning Seas of Nar-Mataru. It, along with two subsequent EPs, Sacrificious Profanity and Rise of the Unholy, were obsessed with trying to create their own brand of old-school death metal. When they released the EP Ignis Creatio in 1992, its meld of doom, death, and Gothic metal alternately recalled early Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride and put them on the global underground metal map. They built on that success with 1994's mini-album Waves of Erotasia with better production, earworm riffs, and well-developed vocals in music referred to ever since as "nature-inspired, death-infused, gothic metal" -- minus the de rigueur symphonic overtones. Pyogenesis, ever restless, began tweaking that sound on their 1995 debut long-player Sweet X-Rated Nothings. The vocals were much cleaner and the sound far less dark. But no one could have expected things to change as dramatically as they did when Pyogenesis released Twinaleblood to their shocked fan base later that year. Gone were the doomy lyrics and heavy riffs, replaced by a pop-punk sound that instantly alienated much of their audience and pushed their career in a much more commercial direction. Their followup, Unpop, was sarcastically titled; it was even more poppy and sweet. It left metal fans in the dust but resonated with a larger general audience given its alternative rock sound. 1998's Mono: Will It Ever Be the Way It Used to Be doubled down on the formula by adding keyboards. On subsequent EP Don't You Say Maybe, the pop-punk side became dominant with a handful of nu-metal touches sprinkled in. The band left Nuclear Blast for Hamburg Records in 2002. It proved a good fit and Pyogenesis issued the five-track EP I Feel Sexy and the full-length She Makes Me Wish I Had a Gun. The latter charted and spawned a hit single with "Don't You Say Maybe." Though they toured in support, internal conflicts combined with musical restlessness split the band in 2005. They returned from self-imposed exile a decade later with Schwarz the only original member. They released A Century in the Curse of Time, an eight-track set that explored sludge metal, prog, power pop, and indie rock. Metal fans ignored it, while German rock fans enthusiastically pushed it onto the album charts. The musically similar, narrative-driven A Kingdom to Disappear, followed in 2017 as the second entry in a three-part trilogy. After intense touring and a short break, the band re-entered the studio in late 2019. They emerged with A Silent Soul Screams Loud in January of 2020. In concluding the conceptual trilogy, they musically combined virtually all of their exploratory notions in an epic tale of humanity told through a steampunk narrative. New guitarist Thilo Schmidt joined Schwarz on the front line, and the band was full of ideas. Pyogenesis enlisted guest vocalist Chris Harms (Lord of the Lost) to perform the single "Modern Prometheus." While metal fans continued to ignore them, rock fans and critics from across the globe celebrated their holistic, accessible, proggy hard rock approach. Six months after its release, it had better sales figures than their previous recordings and had garnered a ream of the most critically effusive praise in the band's career.
© Bradley Torreano & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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