Germany’s Pyogenesis is probably most renowned, or reviled, for the drastic transformation they’ve made over the course of their existence and subsequent rejuvenation. Specifically, if you know Pyogenesis and are pissed off at them, it’s probably because of the musical moves they made throughout the 90's.
To this day, I still have to give the ol’ head a shake when I throw on their Rise of the Unholy, Sacrificious Profanity and/or Ignious Creato EPs (all from 1992), then follow things up with the transformative Sweet X-Rated Nothings , Twinaleblood  and Unpop . If you ever get a chance to sit down and explore the differences between the morose death/doom wrist slitters that were those early EPs and the shiny, happy alt-rock/off-kilter pop punk of the latter releases (not to mention what came afterwards), let me know if you don’t come out questioning if it’s even any of the same human life forms performing under the Pyogenesis banner, let alone the same band. I’ll give you a chocolate-covered medal.
So, after a decade-long self-imposed exile which they probably spent ensconced in a beaten up microbiology/musicology co-op laboratory in the ghettos of Hamburg breaking down the very essence of everything related to sonic tunnel vision, guitarist/vocalist Flo Schwarz and the Gang Who Couldn’t Play Straight is back to confound conservatism, defy direction, fuck forbearance and grind the notion of genre into a fine powder. It starts with the cover art; an ornate, hand-painted (or at least it looks that way) Renaissance-meets-steampunk pastiche that gives surreal overview of some of the major landmarks of invention and discovery of the last century-plus. From there, Pyogenesis pulls off a move many have attempted without any amount of real success: they manage a “kitchen sink” approach to song writing, but do so while being able to place and, most importantly, maintain their own stamp on the proceedings. Of course, with an approach this varied, there exist moments where a sense of second guessing the use and placement of a certain riffs and sequences will have listeners scratching their heads (i.e. the verse and bridge of both “Lifeless” and “The Swan King” come across as shaky and stilted) and fans who immerse themselves in ‘this’ genre may not appreciate the band’s exploration and appropriation of ‘that’ genre, but when this bunch get into a groove, what results are some truly unique songs that ooze whimsical singularity and in a just world should throw Pyogenesis up alongside other iconoclastic genre benders like Faith No More, Therapy?, King’s X and Melvins.
As my gushing might indicate, there are plenty of examples in which the band demonstrates a successful ability in combining and recombining the DNA of other styles and putting their own spin on things. Opener, “Steam Paves its Way (The Machine)” is a four corners collision of doom, thrash, a cappella power pop and melodic death metal. On a similar tip, “A Love Once New Has Now Grown Old” somehow cohesively slams hardcore and 90s radio pop into Baroness’ Blue Album and fuzzy Sonic Youth-styled alt-rock. “This Won’t Last Forever” is an immaculate, loud-ass rocker that nips on the heels of a spandex-clad power ballad and is about as vocal driven a song as you’ll ever hear in metallic-tinged music today while “The Best is Yet to Come” is all about massive stadium rock guitars and angelic vocal harmonies. The title track closer is grandiose classic rock in the vein of vintage Yes and Queen with the focus geared more towards metal and punk and the inclusion of tremendous vocal harmonies and guitar melodies as opposed to prog rock complexity.
What makes A Century in the Curse of Time such an engaging proposition is the manner in which those songs that are highlights flow and make rocking sense. When Schwarz and his current band mates foist up all those disparate elements onto the Pyogenesis pottery wheel to spin and sculpt them, the outcome are songs that go off in a number of directions but can still be wrangled under the emblem of “epic tune, bro.” Having said all of the above, I’m now tasked with the challenge of trying to figure out what’s more perplexing: the band’s initial transformation back in the 90s, or their present day ability to synthesize multiple influences and sounds into a unified entity.