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Phobocosm - Bringer Of Drought

Bringer Of Drought
by Paul Carr at 22 October 2016, 11:21 AM

Montreal’s PHOBOCOSM expand on their old-school Death Metal sound on their second album “Bringer Of Drought.” The band mix Doom and Post metal with healthy (unhealthy?!) amounts of visceral Death Metal thrown in to create a riotous metal storm. The band demonstrate early on that they have developed their signature sound. Opener “Engulfing Dust” provides a slow burning start to proceedings which ably show where pushing the death metal envelope has taken them. They give the song plenty of space to breathe which adds subtle layers of heaviness rather than blunt force. The bleakness is allowed to build and permeate until, without knowing it, it has taken over. It's a bold opening that lesser bands wouldn't have the confidence to even attempt. “Tidal Scourge” is a suffocating dirge with rumbling guitars and heavy, subterranean drumming. The band create an intense and beguiling sense of gloom that totally envelops the listener. It is stark and unsettling yet totally captivating.

The production values on the album are phenomenal. When it needs to be it is dark and murky, like wading in treacle. At other times it can be beautifully crisp, especially when it comes to the drum sound. The drumming on the album ranges from measured to frantic but always in keeping with the mood of the song. Drummer Jean-Sébastien Gagnon shows admirable restraint when required and is the foundation that the album is built upon. One criticism could be made of the excessive length of some of the songs. Initially, they can come across as meandering and overlong. It's easy to be hypnotised by the directionless drone of certain songs. However, on repeat listens, it becomes clear that that is probably the point. The length of the songs cleverly lulls the listener into a false sense of security making the moment they strike with a brutal riff or frenetic drumming all the more effective. It’s like a mongoose pouncing on a cobra.

PHOBOCOSM have succeeded in the admirable task of looking back at the beginning of Death Metal to inform their sound. This is certainly no retrograde step as they mix in enough new elements to make this more than your average death metal album. They have shown that the genre still had the ability to surprise. This is certainly no immediate sugar rush of an album. It requires you to spend time with it. To run head long into the black mist. It begs for commitment and if you give it, the rewards are there. Just hope you can still find your way back.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Engulfing Dust
2. Tidal Scourge
3. Ordeal
4. Fallen
Samuel Dufour – guitar
Jean-Sébastien Gagnon – drums
Etienne Bayard – bass and vocals
Robin Milley – guitar
Yan Thiel – guitar
Xavier Berthiaume – keyboards
Record Label: Dark Descent Records


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