(Austin Weber reviews the new album by Phobocosm from Montreal.)
A lot of modern death metal is shiny, flashy, and in addition, purely cutthroat. Well, the Montreal-based group Phobocosm are nothing like that. They are relentlessly ugly and unforgiving, often content to stew in misery at a slower pace, entrenched in massive, sickening riffs that churn bowels and cause minds to enter a state of hopeless insanity. If a cutthroat death metal record feels like a physical assault, then consider Phobocosm masters of taking that assault directly into your brain, feeding you clouded questions that don’t lead to any answers, submerging you in a sadness and longing that reeks of perversion. Deprived offers an evil and different take on the death metal sound. Yes, there is plenty of lively double-bass, and the album has its frenzied moments, but often this is a skulking, wounded beast — preaching a horror beyond gore, beyond death.
An eerie Immolation and Incantation influence is clear — from the riffs to the grooves to the structuring. However, Phobocosm are far from wholly a clone of either group. Besides those two points of reference, the music sometimes calls to mind the approach of Ulcerate, embracing and reflecting in atmospheric reverberations, sometimes by themselves and at other times mixed within the band’s full-throttle moments. The back and forth sway of the songs on Deprived is one of its greatest strengths, frequently manifesting a battle between faster and lurching tempos.
At still other moments on Deprived a black metal undercurrent is injected into the mix and further poisons the music’s already pitch-black feel. In this respect, the album is reminiscent of Deathspell Omega or Mitochondrion, though the blackened coloring occurs largely within a death metal framework overall. Continue reading »