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Phobophilic - Enveloping Absurdity

Enveloping Absurdity
by Jessica Smith at 07 November 2022, 5:54 AM

PHOBOPHILIC, a four piece death metal band from North Dakota has just released their debut album “Enveloping Absurdities”. While this is their first full length album, they have had an EP and a split that spoke enough volume to get signed on to Prosthetic Records for this debut. In reference to this album, the band has commented it “is without a doubt our most extreme and authentic yet”. This being my first time hearing the band, I dove a little deeper to get a sense of the album upon first listen knowing death metal isn’t exactly the easiest to dissect meaning from. The band shared this album is “the realization of the universe’s complete and utter indifference to humanity, facing that reality and choosing to find meaning from within”.

The first track “Enantiodromia” blasts in with a crash of the drums and a heavy bass line instrumental for a full minute before getting into grisly goodness. While this song has a pretty strong start and a catchy rhythm, it takes a turn and slows down before taking us into the next two tracks. “Those Which Stare Back” and “Nauseating Despair” could be twin tracks, as both have this kind of spiraling rhythmic pattern that get even slower and distorted towards the end nearly creating a dizzying feeling (best experienced through headphones). “Cathedrals of Blood” is where the album gets interesting to me- the song starts with an unexpected, almost groovy kick in preparation to getting back into the death growls and blast beats we’ve heard so far. We get an even more interesting break in the album with instrumental intermission “Individuation”. This track feels a bit removed from the rest of the album but has such a cool technical-meets-tribal eerie sound to it.

At this point you’re either mellowed out or unsettled from the three minute instrumental break before getting tossed back into it with “The Illusion of Self”. The last few tracks of the album(starting with this one) have a darker, weighted feel to them. Not only in the eb and flow of sound production but the vocals also feel more gritty and powerful. “Survive in Obscurity” is pretty reminiscent of the first few tracks but does a better job of keeping you attentive by switching up the pace of guitars, jumping from speedy riffs to slowed spirals. Finally, powerful and intriguing guitar riffs in title track “Enveloping Absurdity” pull you in one last time before hearing the deep, fuzzy distortion of vocals that lean into an almost-sludgy sounding metal. Instrumentally this is one of my favorite tracks from the album, it’s a shame it happens at the very end of it and the intriguing sounds quickly divert back to a pretty run of the mill death metal track.

I think PHOBOPHILIC has something really interesting going for them, and still has some work to figure out their own unique sound to stand out in the death metal community from all of the other generic growling and bass lines. I would love to hear them find a way to more seamlessly connect tracks to create an ongoing atmosphere versus quick halts that open into an entirely different sound on the next track. All of this said, if you are a death metal fan you will enjoy this as a listen.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Enantiodromia
2. Those Which Stare Back
3. Nauseating Despair
4. Cathedrals of Blood (Twilight of the Idols)
5. Individuation
6. The Illusion of Self
7. Survive in Obscurity
8. Enveloping Absurdity
Aaron Dudgeon - Vocals, Guitar
Josh Poer - Guitar
Christian Alm - Bass
Vincent Tweten - Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records


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