Archaeaeon was easily one of the more distinct death metal albums in 2008, due to its balance of cavernous guttural vocals and fleshy, frantic compositions. However, Vancouver's Mitochondrion have outdone themselves with the followup, Parasignosis, a trip to spaces both dark and alien, discordant and enigmatic. If the shoe doesn't fit, then this album wears it, and the quality here is unfathomable, sure to rise the band's notoriety to the rafters. Essentially, the band cover a similar territory to old school, atmospheric death worshipers like Vasaeleth or the turbulent Portal, but they assert a progressive, mildly technical dominance, making use of excellent guitar leads and twisting structures that bridge the listener from the familiar to the shrouded nightmares of antiquity.
The trio of tracks that inaugurate this album, "Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolviumus Parts I-III" are simply indomitable, easily comprising the most interesting death metal I've heard thus far this year. "Plague Evockation (Part I)" layers groaning vocals with hostile, shimmering webs of guitar work that evolve into a mesmerizing, doom laden verse passage, with intense drums that remarkably hold their place, despite the rampant footwork and fills, behind the din of atmosphere that the vocals and strings carry. Eventually the track cruises into a choppy, Morbid Angel style rhythm, but even here, there are so many freakish sounds occurring against the backdrop that to stare straight at them would result in only madness. "Lex Ego Exitium (Part II)" meshes whispers at the edge of perception with lurching chugged guitars, and percussive panoramas, before a glaze of haunting melody and momentum breaks the extra terrestrial surface; and "Tetravirulence (Part III)" decks you with over 10 minutes of raging, throbbing extremity that feels like being simultaneously molested by every Elder God in the whole blasted Mythos.
If you've gotten that far, there are more forbidden pleasures to await you, in the spastic impulse of "Trials", the broiling sadism circus insanity of title track "Parasignosis", and the writhing extraplanar tendrils of "Kathenotheism", but I do feel like the first three are the strongest in lifting the listener to that otherworldly catacomb of menace that Mitochondrion's membership seems to lord over. The production of the album is superb, capturing each gleaming ray of the unknown alongside the depths of the bottom end, and the trio's musicianship is just as prevalent as the debut. Profound Lore seems a good home for the Canadian act, with their unusual audio ethics and pseudo intellectual mind fucking, but unlike half of the label's roster, these gentlemen do not compose overblown, boring alternative black metal for bohemians sporting keffiyeh. This is ominous, titillating brutality with only small hints at exterior genres, sure to please both the practiced necronaut and the most disturbed death metal debutante.
Verdict: Win [8.75/10]