Instant Pyrolysis is a new entry in the growing field of black metal musicians making ambient or drone, and although one could expect such things to sound like Burzum interludes, it is actually a field full of potential for more avant-garde explorations. The Asylum is, in this sense, closer to Ajilvsga than Drudkh, and although the theme might seem almost commonplace at this point (a madman, an asylum, an operation, an escape), the treatment it is given remains more interesting than anything a ‘traditional’ black metal band could probably do with it. The procedure is clinical, much like its subject matter, and there is no space to breathe within the walls of these electronic manipulations.
There is a very fine use of drones here, every layer building up into disturbing tensions that have no release; the asylum is within, and we take it everywhere. As our vision gets distorted, one layer at a time, we fall into a grave sea of distorted electronics. The terrible sensation that follows is that of knowing everyone can hear us scream, and yet no one turns, no one makes that “human” gesture of empathy that assures us there is some kind of understanding. The album riffs on this kind of stress, an imminent anxiety that rises and shines like so many a Tim Hecker drone only to fall once again into indefinite clusters of sounds.
The best part of the album, at least for this listener, is “Cotard Delusion” followed by “Lobotomy”, which together sum up the complexity of the feelings that are being evoked. The earlier presents a drone that is at times nearly bright, like an almost-white shade of grey that is nevertheless always shadowed by a pitch-black tone. In its flow there is a sense of release, like finally letting all that tension go, but not completely, and when “Lobotomy” comes in, the illusion of relief is finally shattered. It is more straightforwardly dark and sinister, and while on its own it wouldn’t stand out that much from the rest of the tracks, following after “Cotard” it functions like a powerful blow to whatever hope we had of being outside.
In the end, the album is a strong first step into the drone area, and if tracks like “Cotard Delusion” are any indication, the only thing left is to keep going forward. (David Murrieta)