Ready for something COMPLETELY different? Well, grab a listen to this 1996 release from Pan-Thy-Monium, a real off the wall, avant-garde, progressive, death metal band. If you have ever wondered what brutal, technical death metal would sound like with proggy keyboards, squonking jazz sax leads, and incomprehensible gutteral growls, this is the place to hear it. These guys were playing music like no one else at the time, combining off-kilter Zappa-ish jazzy/prog weirdness with crushing death metal. Other comparisons like John Zorn, Mr. Bungle, Carcass, and Dream Theater also sort of fit at times. The brains behind the brawn was none other than a fellow called Day Disyraah, better known to many as Dan Swano, who handled bass, keyboards, and effects for Pan-Thy-Monium. Other members of this unique progressive metal band were singer Direlict (Robert Karlsson, who also later replaced Swano in Edge of Sanity), lead guitarist/sax player Aag (Dag Swano, also of Nightingale), rhythm guitarist Mourning (Robert Ivarsson), and drummer Winter (Edge of Sanity's Benny Larsson).
This album, III: Khaooohs & Kon-Fus-ion, is basically two long pieces, and two shorter ones. "The Battle of Geeheeb" is a crushing mix of death metal, progressive rock bombast, and wild free-jazz. Direlict's vocals (if you want to call them that) are used more like a separate instrument, as he blasts forth plenty of brutal & savage growls, with not an understandable lyric in sight. It really matters not though, as the music is so complex and avant-garde that you can't help but be impressed by the overall sonic attack these guys went for. "Thee-Pherenth" is a more symphonic and melodic piece, with plenty of prog rock power coming from Swano, err, sorry, Disyraah, through his lead bass lines and keyboards, plus some strong lyrical guitar solos from Aag. When he stabs some sax breaks into the mix, the song takes a turn into dissonant, free-jazz territory, making this piece one hell of a variety ride with its journeys into prog, death metal, and jazz. On "Behrial", Disyraah basically creates some lush soundscapes with keyboards (pretty cool stuff, and very proggy), and the closer "In Rememberence" is a quick waste of space, a few minutes of silence. Not sure what they were thinking there, as it would have been nice to have some more music on this otherwise really intriguing CD.
Pan-Thy-Monium did not have a large output of material, the others being the Dream II EP, Dawn of Dreams, and Khaooohs, (the latter two are available on a double CD package), so in reality they didn't have much of a career before calling it quits in 1996. What they did leave behind was some highly complex and avant-garde music, whether you want to catagorize it as death metal or progressive metal probably matters not. Once again, another example of the greatness that results in anything musical that Dan Swano touches.
1. The Battle Of Geeheeb
4. In Remembrance