Pyreship Premiere “Anathema” from Light is a Barrier


Houston, Texas-based five-piece Pyreship release their new album, Light is a Barrier, on April 22. Like much of everyone’s everything, the sophomore full-length from the atmosludge, post-metal-informed tone-pushers has been on hold since before the pandemic, and in fact even earlier than that. Their debut, The Liars Bend Low (discussed here), was released in 2017 through Black Bow Records, and it doesn’t seem to have been long afterward that the band set about making this follow-up, recording in 2018 and 2019 and then… And then. It’s strange to talk about these years, lost time, thinking about what momentum might’ve been or how lives might be different. They could’ve been on their fourth record by now. So could we all, I guess.

But reality comes crashing on Light is a Barrier, and if Pyreship are interested in building or portraying walls, it’s with their own sound that they do so. The five tracks and 38 minutes of Light is a Barrier do nothing to overstay their welcome — as, let’s face it, plenty of post-metal does — but in themselves balance immediacy and patience in a manner that goes beyond simple shifts in volume, as the fluidity with which “Broken Spire” opens the record demonstrates, keeping consistent with the preceding offering in the use of samples but showcasing the fleshed-out sound of the band in the moodier riff and intertwining vocals — clean croons, shouts — as vocalist Jenny Jordan, guitarist/vocalists Sam Waters and Cru Jordan Jones, bassist George Lusito and drummer Steve Smith thoughtfully bring the track to its linear apex before the rumble and feedback give way to “Anathema,” which, though it’s probably not named after the sadly defunct UK band, features a highlight surge drawn from the playbook of Pyreship Light is a Barriermid-period Isis while finding its melodic center before the crunch and sweep hit full-on.

The subsequent “Half Light” is the centerpiece and shortest track — on average the songs on Light is a Barrier are longer than those of The Liars Bend Low, but not outrageously so — but still seems to thud with extra physical presence in the low end guitar and bass while the drums hint at Through Silver in Blood-era influence and the repeated line, “Halfway through a half light,” becomes a hook built on and pushed outward lyrically, less chaotic than some of the overwhelming churn of either Neurosis or acolytes like Minsk, but drawing from them as well as sundry other atmospheric influences and melding that side of their sound with aggressive purpose, as heard in the change from dual-leads to all-riff in the song’s second half. Pyreship never quite give themselves over to complete pummel, but the message gets across anyway, and is reinforced by the chug that emerges on “Forest of Spears,” its final minute-plus dedicated to the well-worn-but-almost-always-effective sample of J. Robert Oppenheimer taking his place as death, the destroyer of worlds following the successful detonation of an atom bomb.

That’s as much a lead-in for the nine-minute finale “Highborn” as a lead-out for “Forest of Spears,” but it gives the final two songs on Light is a Barrier a side B resonance all their own and makes their pairing seem like even less of an accident. Some low growls and clean vocals early in “Highborn” recall the journey the band has undertaken over the relatively short period of the album’s span, and after a quieter midsection, Pyreship ignite the album’s final shove on a course the underlying rhythm of which will elicit knowing nods from those who’ve also been taken to school by “Stones From the Sky.” Noise on a medium-length fade caps out and as quick as they were there, Pyreship are gone, and ultimately Light is a Barrier realizes itself in a blend of what is and what might still be on the part of the band, who here grow into a method of pulling from stylistic tenets that which they feel most serves the individualized purposes of their songs and, accordingly, album. For the years it’s apparently been waiting for release, there’s nothing stale about it, and those who let themselves be carried by it will find themselves affected by the experience. They put you where they want you.

“Anathema” (premiering below) doesn’t necessarily speak for the whole record, but it gives an idea. Dig in and see where you’re at.


Steve Smith-Drums
George Lusito-Bass
Jenny Jordan-Vocals
Sam Waters- Guitar/Vocals
Cru Jordan Jones-Guitar/Vocals

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2 Responses to “Pyreship Premiere “Anathema” from Light is a Barrier

  1. […] Listen: […]

  2. […] second single to be unleashed by the atmospheric, sludge metal band, Pyreship. Premiering now at The Obelisk, the track is taken from their album »Light Is A Barrier« which will be released on April […]

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