It took Mencea a little longer than required but finally their second album entitled ‘’Pyrophoric’’ is out and it’s about time to focus on what the band is capable of achieving with this demanding second work. But at first, we must not forget that four years ago, they released one of the best albums the whole Greek metal scene has to offer, the marvellous ‘’Dark Matter Energy Noir’’. This album not only helped them to become one of the hottest names of the European scene and opened the doors for many festival appearances abroad, but also was a sample of a fully renewed sound at the right moment, which made them sound even more interesting, the debut album was a great progressive death metal masterpiece (not in the veins of Atheist or Obscura though) with many modern elements and wfqith all players giving all they had to make this first step of the band the cornerstone of their future plans.
‘’Pyrophoric’’ has a difficult tusk from the beginning, to make the debut’s impact worth the wait. And it succeeds from the very beginning, as it is an album that takes the main course of ‘’Dark Matter Energy Noir’’ but differentiates where it must. More bizarre rhythms and sounds are added compared to the first album and a sense of evolution dominates the album’s 36 minutes of duration. Whoever thinks that it’s an easy listening album due to its short passing, will be fully mistaken, for you must pay a lot of attention to it if you don’t want to lose the point hidden behind the seven compositions (plus a short track, ‘’Invocation’’ which works more as an interlude for the final track ‘’The Dead’’) which last from four to almost six minutes and are characterized by consistency, a great modern production and a flawless performance by each member of the band, something which may not appear at first, but as you keep on listening the album, you will discover great parts played by each member here and there.
‘’Phosphorus’’ is the opener of the album and holds the flag of renewal that the album offers to you, the listener. This time, a little less atmospheric and more ‘’aggressive’’ compared to the debut, but without losing their personal identity, Mencea play their wild card of inspiration in the right turn and win the game for the second time. It’s seldom to be able repeating a work full of hidden details that reveal themselves as listenings increase, it’s one of those albums which you really can’t ‘’catch’’ at first, because some of the compositions may sound simplified but once they grow inside you, you will find more to them than you expected. The vocalist is so expressive that sounds threatening sometimes, or describing how a possible apocalypse may happen. The special colour in his voice is one more wild card for the band, as the guitars continue building impenetratable walls of spacy soundscapes and the rhythm section follows or either leads where rightly indicated (the drummer kicks serious ass no matter the case).
Opeth was a band whose touch gave a lot of boost to the debut album, but this time –and it is more a credit than a negative comment- Meshuggah are mainly responsible for this claustrophobic vibe ‘’Pyrophoric’’ has to give. If you think this is a pleasant album with colourful pictures drawn before you, go check something else immediately. It might make you suffocate on rhythms such as the one of ‘’Beheading’’, or just close your eyes and really become one with compositions such as ‘’Elders’’ and ‘’Hounds’’. If you add a little Strapping Young Lad touch of their mid tempo compositions (somewhere between the ‘’Alien’’ and ‘’The New Black’’ era), you get the main idea of what ‘’Pyrophoric’’ is about. The guys torture their instruments slow and relentlessly and they enjoy it. I can imagine them looking at each other and thinking to theirselves ‘’keep it that way but make it even heavier’’.
Mencea’s second album comes to establish them as one of the best Greek bands that have emerged the last ten years from the deep underground scene and gives rather convincingly the proof that whoever works hard, really gets rewarded in the end, no matter the kind of reward in the end. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the first album or this one, the only thing that matters is that four years of waiting came to an end with the best possible way. I can see a bright future for the band, as it is more than certain that the next album will be different again. 36 minutes that lead you closer to a place out of Earth and back home again. For some this would be more than priceless. For Mencea, this is just something coming out naturally without much thought. As the maelstrom of ‘’The Dead’’ violently wakes you up from the trance you have put yourself in, it is about time thinking how you want your music to sound like in the year of 2012. Mencea gave you all the help you could get, it’s up to you to decide now.