Band: Pervy Perkin | Album: Comedia: Inferno | Genre: Progressive metal, Progressive rock, Death metal | Year: 2019
From: Madrid, Spain | Label: Independent
For fans of: Dream Theater, Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, Porcupine Tree
Literary references are nothing new in the fields of rock and metal. Grim writings, in particular, have provided musical inspiration to artists ranging from metal bands like Mastodon to acts as impressively-un-metallic as The Alan Parsons Project. The Inferno section of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is one of the most-referenced works in the whole of the literary canon. In spite of this, Comedia: Inferno, is an inventive, original, and enthralling album.
Each of the nine songs represents one of Dante’s nine concentric circles of Hell. Pervy Perkin’s music has always been heavy, but they turned up the aggression sharply here to match the dark subject matter.
“Abandon All Hope” opens the album with rapidfire tonal and tempo shifts, ranging from ethereal sound effects to screeching black metal blastbeats to bluesy grooves. Perhaps a bit unfocused, this song nonetheless effectively sets the stage for the rest of the album, demonstrating the band’s versatility and creativity.
Following this is the sheer brutality of “The Tempest”. Between the breakneck tempo and guttural vocals, this song’s opening could have easily been on a Cannibal Corpse album. As the piece progresses, though, the music becomes more structurally complex and varied, morphing into something surprisingly melodic. “Three Throats” is one of the lighter cuts on the album. Still, it’s heavy in absolute terms, and the main riff is pretty big. However, the blues and jazz flavors here add some nice contrast to the preceding aggression.
With “Open Casket”, the listener finally gets a moment to breathe as Pervy Perkin tone down the energy for a few minutes. It’s not a ballad, but taken in the context of this album’s onslaught, this is the calmest song here. This is also where jazz tones are the most overt. After that relative idyll, “Cult of Blood” enters as a roaring piece of thrash metal that sounds like it could have been pulled off some alternate-universe version of And Justice for All (with good production). The rhythm guitars chug forward with purpose, solos twist madly, and the percussion is furious.
The sprawling “Malebolge” suite opens in familiar death metal territory with bass-heavy aggression and growled vocals, but this eventually segues into melodicism reminiscent of Fates Warning, or maybe even Queensrÿche. It’s really impressive how adeptly Pervy Perkin can jump between such disparate metal styles yet make everything feel coherent.
Comedia: Inferno is an impressive work of songcraft and musicianship. The constant, churning flow of different styles prevents this 68-minute album from ever bogging itself down, but it’s not so overwhelming as to be like drinking from a firehose. Pervy Perkin struck a fantastic balance of complexity, depth, and breadth, undergirded by a ton of ambition.