Perhaps because of the fact I was rather unimpressed with Mitochondrion when I first heard them, I didn't fall into the hype train a lot of people did with this album. I listened to it once when it first came out and never gave it another thought. But after I got very into Archaeaeon a few months ago, I decided to come back to this album and give it another listen. And my second impression of Parasignosis was much better, but my insulation from the hype have given me a clear view of this album. While impressive in its own right, Parasignosis is a flawed record, one that is at least a mild regression from Archaeaeon.
Mitochondrion became such a big deal by doing something different with the Incantation Occult Death Metal sound that is very popular right now. They added a strong technical and dissonant element similar to Immolation along with the heavy use of Ambient Noise and samples. With its raw production, complex riffs and suffocating atmosphere of evil, Archaeaeon made this band a big deal. Parasignosis has many of these same elements, but they are presented in a far less exciting arrangements. Parasignosis is still heavy on the atmosphere: the extensive use of Ambient Noise and occult chanting creates a thick miasma that makes penetrating to the meat of each song an exciting and active listen.
But the riffs on Parasignosis are not as interesting as those on Archaeaeon. The riffing style is much closer to pure Incantation on this album and adds far less of those Deathspell Omega-esque dissonant leads and riffs. There are still those epic moments of inhuman complexity and dissonance, but the are fewer and farther between. "Trials" is a fine enough track, but it often grinds ahead at maximum speed and rarely gives the ideas in the song a chance to breathe: sadly, there is no "Into the Pit of Babel" on this record. The production is also a bit more impenetrable then on Archaeaeon, which actually proves to be a detriment to the album: Mitochondrion are heading into Portal territory with the production on this album, and that is a bit aggravating. And even the use of Ambient Noise is not as effective on Parasignosis: the final track(titled "Ambient outro") is a total waste of time that does nothing to improve the atmosphere, only to detract from the quality of this album.
Parasignosis is a solid, enjoyable listen that still finds ways to excite and entice listeners to hang in for the sometimes rough ride. But Mitochondrion, a band of obvious talent and ability, took a step back rather than forward. In an attempt to become even more atmospheric and occult than before, Mitochondrion lost some of what made them so powerful. Fans of this style of Death Metal must listen to this, but the hype seems to exceed the product.