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Phobophilic – Undimensioned Identities Award winner

Phobophilic
Undimensioned Identities
by Santiago Puyol at 16 February 2020, 2:17 AM

North Dakota Death Metal band PHOBOPHILIC has re-released their first EP "Undimensioned Identities" previously launched last year –as seen on Bandcamp at least–, a four track, 18-minute-and-a-half journey of unhinged and manic bangers with a marked old school sound and some subtle influences from Black, Thrash and Prog.

Opener "That Which Swallowed the Sun" is the shortest one here, and it makes the most of its nearly four minutes. It eases the listener into the EP with some playful BLACK SABBATH-inspired riffing and subtle drumming. Things get into complex territory a few seconds in. Vincent Tweten’s busy but dynamic work behind the drum kit keeps the band grounded while Christian Alm’s bass contributes a looming sense of darkness with its heavy presence.

"Subterranean Miscreation" comes next, slapping you right on the face with fast-paced riffing and blast beats. The band takes a page or two from Thrash-tingled Death here, and the tempo ebbs and flows, keeping things interesting. The band’s songwriting is certainly a highlight, and this is a masterful track in that regard. No section overstays its welcome, but even with tracks under the six-minute mark, they never feel too crammed or crowded with ideas. PHOBOPHILIC know how to strike a balance between lively and diverse tracks, and catchy, memorable sections.

Heavy syncopation and shifting time signatures give "Diminished to Unbeing" a unique edge. Being a more melodic and at times slower track, it never feels less heavy due to creative riff-building and angular writing. It features a nasty bass breakdown by Alm and some tasty guitar soloing. The last couple of seconds will have your head banging along in an uncontrollable way.

Closer "Synaptic Vessel" takes a more exploratory approach being the longest track here, clocking in under six minutes. Its middle section goes for sludgy jamming and some unusually subtle shredding. A meandering track that works thanks to the insane chemistry of everyone involved. Its prolonged fade-out ending is adequate but leaves you wanting to hear a little more of the jamming that seems to be picking up at the end of the track.

"Undimensioned Identities" is an outstanding EP, whose strength resides on its adherence to that raw, visceral sound, as well as on the tight musicianship of everyone involved and some really memorable riffing. PHOBOPHILIC may not be totally reinventing the wheel here, but this quartet delivers some quality tunes.

It manages to be creative in subtle ways, too, especially with the busy use of ride cymbals and tom-toms from drummer Vincent Tweten. Production manages to be clear and audible, giving room for every instrument (the bass could have been a little more prominent) without sacrificing the harsh and oppressive nature of Death Metal. It doesn’t sound crisp and shiny, but it also doesn’t sound like an overdistorted, clipping-filled mess, something unusual with a band on its first record, even more with a Death Metal band going for an old-school aesthetic.

Overall, a strong effort that leaves you wanting more.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. That Which Swallowed the Sun
2. Subterranean Miscreation
3. Diminished to Unbeing
4. Synaptic Vessel
Lineup:
Aaron Dudgeon – Guitar/Vocals
Josh Poer – Guitar
Christian Alm – Bass
Vincent Tweten – Drums
Record Label: Blood Harvest Records
     


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Edited 31 March 2020
 

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