German Dark Electro act Pyrroline has returned in 2021 with Struggling, their fourth album and the third released by Electro Aggression Records. The main album Struggling encompasses 15 tracks, 12 of them on the first disc and three leading over into the second remix disc. The remix disc is exclusive to the limited-edition CD, but otherwise the first 12 main album tracks can be purchased digitally.
For those familiar with Pyrroline the music should come as no surprise. The project delivers multi-layered Dark Electro in the vein of legends such as Mentallo & The Fixer and Placebo Effect. This time around I also picked up a distinct Skinny Puppy influence. The second disc, as with most Electro Aggresssion Records releases, is jam-packed with remixes from well-known projects including Placebo Effect, Sleepwalk, fix8:sëd8, Jihad, Amorphous, Terminal State, The Opposer Divine and g.o.l.e.m.
The theme of Struggling appears to be the pandemic and the devastating impact that 2020 has had on the global community, although the band has avoided making a direct correlation. Such dark subject matter is not new for Pyrroline. In fact, their previous album In The Dawn Of Freedom (see review here) was themed around the ‘Croatian War Of Independence’ which took an estimated 20,000 lives and left behind 500,000 refugees.
With Struggling the project has also taken lyrical cues or inspiration from a variety of sources, variously including: the Holy Bible, Edgar Allan Poe, the Persian mystic Rumi, ancient Greek author Aeschylus, American feminist lyrical poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, T.S. Eliot, William Blake, Scottish hymnwriter James Montgomery, Canadian cultural bomb-thrower Jordan Bernt Peterson, and “children’s poet” James Whitcomb Riley.
The album also features stunning visuals from Moldovan fine artist Sorin Sorin. The cover features a striking dark blue painting of a 19th century (or earlier) wooden ship in the midst of a storm. The ship is reeling and seems in danger of either capsizing or running aground against a rocky cliff. Similar images, presumably from the same set of paintings, are spread throughout the booklet. The image on the album reverse, however, features the same ship, righting itself and navigating out of troubled waters.
I feel Pyrroline’s decision to draw lyrical inspiration from literary greats, and their elegant use of fine art in the booklet, elevates the album and makes it something to be cherished. For those who suffered in 2020, nearly everyone, the album can be a grim souvenir of this time in our lives, if you choose to interpret it that way. Regardless, we are all struggling in this life, at different times, and Struggling serves as both a warning and an inspiration on how to navigate the dark storms on the horizon.
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