Track By Tracks: Pessimystic - Burnt Offering (2023)


Blackened death metal entity Pessimystic revealed their debut album Burnt Offering; an apotropaic oblation of self-surrender through self-destruction and unity through detachment. Conceptually, Burnt Offering contemplates divine retribution and conjures the apocalyptic imagery enshrined in the human psyche. Burnt Offering comprises five songs of avant-garde extreme music, for a total length of just under half an hour. Under its dense and dissonant shroud, it combines the wrath and fury of death metal with the intensity and melodic echoes of black metal. The album was recorded and produced by Topon Das at Apt 2 Recording (Fuck the Facts, Deformatory, Eclipser), capturing deep textures and a natural, organic energy. With its meshed layers of intricate technical details, Burnt Offering showcases both performance and dedication Pessimystic has to offer. 


1. Conquer the Pantheon:

The opening track, “Conquer the Pantheon”, was chosen to initiate Pessimystic’s debut record, “Burnt Offering”, due to its momentous energy. It begins with a rolling and thunderous beat, accompanied by an arpeggiated guitar section, creating a primitive and rhythmic atmosphere. This builds towards an aggressive, yet melodic barrage of tremolo chord progressions and blast beats. The song has a direct structure, allowing the listener to become acquainted with the sonic landscape of the record. The lyrics and vocal delivery appropriately correspond to the primitive vibe of the instrumentation, presenting the concept that permeates the entire album; our ancient relationship to the divine. The deity is revealed as a storm theophany, responsible for our fertility and protection, and the song chronicles its evolution into the transcendent creator of the universe. “Conquer the Pantheon” serves its purpose of generating poetic and symbolic imagery of monotheism’s despotic origins. 

2. Visions:

The second track, “Visions”, is an apocalyptic revelation of divine retribution. It draws inspiration from the horrific events depicted in the bible, predicted by the prophets. Its narration seeks out angelic mediation for the comprehension of these unfathomable, calamitous atrocities. “Visions” is the most resonant and melodic song on the record, from a vocal standpoint. It has a purposefully straightforward composition, yet it is laden with detailed and immersive musical passages.

3. Burnt Offering:

The title track, “Burnt Offering”, is the culmination of Pessimystic’s resolve and lyrical theology represented on this album. “Burnt Offering” is about sacrifice through immolation of the self and absorption into absolute unity with God. Instrumentally, this track showcases the diversity of the band’s sound; weaving tense, bewildering dissonance into ominous psychedelia, and finishing with cathartic release. This moment in the record marks the plummeting descent into lunacy, far from the uplifting elements of the first two tracks, and the last trace of melodic respite before what is to come.

4. Crystalline:

We are brought low, to the darkest depths of the record, by the warped and metamorphic intro section of the fourth track, “Crystalline”. The overall tone of this song is injected with more death metal and doom influence than all of the previous tracks combined. In stark contrast with its heavy and brooding sound, the lyrics evoke an ecstatic trance that imagines the mystical and transformative experience of seeing the light and hearing the voice of God. The unique juxtaposition of mode and message negatively charges the unstable aura emanating from “Crystalline”.

5. Omnipresent Malevolence:

The monumental final track, “Omnipresent Malevolence”, concludes the album by leading us down an unsettling path toward destruction. Lyrically, this song is a lamentation directed at the almighty, concerned primarily with evil and suffering. It begs the question; why do terrible things happen to righteous people, while sinful deeds go unpunished? How can this world so abound with wickedness if it is the creation of an all-benevolent, all-knowing, and all-powerful God? The menacing instrumental fury of “Omnipresent Malevolence” is an unorthodox blackened death epic, possessed by foreboding grooves, and intensified by pummelling brutality from start to finish.

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