Pivixki – Gravissima

Always wondered what something like this would sound like, and trust us, we’ve heard plenty of people saying they did it.  “Here it is,” they say, “we’ve made metal with a piano.”  But it’s never worked.  It’s sounded pretentious, overly-wrought, and frankly lacking in the essence of what metal is: power.  Without that, don’t even bother pretending.  But how to do that with a piano, something that’s typically associated only with classical music to the uninitiated?  This particular writer is a classically trained pianist, though I could use a new upright, so it would take something pretty special to grab my attention, and here it is.  Pivixki sent this to us via the label that released it, the unheard-of Lexicon Devil, and unfortunately it was to the previous editor, so this guy didn’t receive it until way after the fact, only a month or so ago, even though it was released in 2010.  But something like this deserves all the attention it can get.  Sadly, it seems these guys went the way of the dinosaur, because there seems to be no sign of them after this release and a few shows to support it including one with Mike Patton in 2011.  Consisting of Max Kohane who’s done some blast-beating for Internal Rot, as well as a variety of projects, and musical mastermind Anthony Pateras, both from Australia, Pivixki is truly that thing we’ve been waiting for.  Piano metal.  Not just metal, but grind, crust, maybe some death in there, a little sludge perhaps.  All the grimy crunch of metal, with generally only two instruments?  Yes, friends, piano + drums + metal = Gravissima.



This is absolutely amazing.  Having heard acts like this, stripped down to generally only two instruments, it’s incredibly difficult to hold the listener for long, because the very idea is usually built on gimmick.  Think of Lightning Bolt.  They have some sick tracks out there, but if you take their overall output the majority of it is garbage, and they’ve even admitted in several interviews they don’t do so well recording, for a variety of reasons, one of them being they’re more of a live thing.  Getting from that to something like this takes two things.  One, it takes musicianship past the capacity of a mere mortal, it takes someone who knows what they’re doing, like for reals.  Two, it takes a thorough understanding of the instruments at hand and how they work.  If those qualities come together, it can be beautiful.  Why do you think the piano was such a legendary instrument for so long?  Why were there so many different composers over the centuries always looking to do something new with it?  Because it’s versatile, but without the hands of a master behind it, it doesn’t work.  Adding drums to that and going grind?  Great idea, but can it be done?  Gravissima proves ‘yes’ easily  (by the way it’s a musical term itself, look it up).


Why it’s so amazing is the amount of variety this duo is able to pull out of this release.  The primary instruments are piano and drums, but they include some circuit bending and other things here and there.  Still, even with an extensive set of 11 different tracks, each one has something new to offer.  Whether it’s straight-up grindcore blast-beating piano attack, slowed-down doom piano with atmosphere, or even a playful, experimental piece, these guys have done practically everything possible in this amount of space without once losing focus or falling into gimmick.  Paternas plays impressively, trust me, I can tell, this is beyond Debussy-level playing with complex patterns that resemble noise, but have a clear structure.  He utilizes the sound of the piano in different ways, clearly knowing what it is inside and out, working with a variety of techniques and turning dissonance into absolute beauty.  But surprisingly all of the variety isn’t in the piano alone.  Kohane follows suit with intricate drum-work that the most extreme of metalheads would die to have power to create.  Put them together, and wow, call us a 12-year-old school girl with the blushing and all that.  Sadly they seem to have stopped the venture and moved on to other projects, and there isn’t a Bandcamp page, nor Facebook,to learn more or hear the entirety of Gravissima, but you can find all of the tracks on Youtube, one of which we’ve put here for you.  Hands down, the only album in history thus far to actually combine the piano with the metal.  These guys have done it, take note if you dare try.


Pivixki Official last.fm

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Pivixki – Gravissima
Lexicon Devil
5 / 5