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Phrenelith – Chimaera

by Thomas Kumke at 06 February 2022, 8:23 PM

PHRENELITH hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark were formed in 2013. They are a traditional Death Metal band and so far, they have released five demos, one split, two EPs, and one full-length album. Their second full-length album “Chimaera” was recorded at Danish Studio Ballade, mixed and mastered at Californian Earhammer Studios. The album has a length of more than 31 minutes and it was released via Greek label Nuclear Winter Records which has a number of Black Metal and Death Metal bands among their roster.

Desolate Endscape” has been the debut album of PHRENELITH in 2017 and it has received some attention in Death Metal circles. Since then, PHRENELITH has released a few demos and EPs, among them “Chimaerian Offspring” in 2017 which contains, beside the title song, two more tracks that have been rearranged for the “Chimaera” album. So, the new album is not as new as people would think with four new songs and the rearranged ones.

Awakening Titans” is one of the new songs and it starts very dark and atmospheric at a slow, measured tempo. It transitions into a traditional Death Metal track, which is driven by the typical guitar riffing and the blast-beats. The growling vocals are at the lower end of the guttural range with occasional screams, but they sound unfortunately a bit subdued. The low-tuned guitars are dominating the sound. There is a short lead guitar contribution which does not add a lot to the track. Overall, the more than seven minutes' opener could have been a bit shortened, since some parts are repetitive.

Chimaerian Offspring Part 1” is bludgeoning and blisteringly fast for most parts of the track with the relentless blast-beat drumming driving the track forward. As mentioned earlier, part one of “Chimaerian Offspring” was released already in 2017 and the original sounds rawer and much more aggressive than the 2021 version. Although there has not been an official video release yet, “Chimaerian Offspring Part 1” was uploaded on YouTube and the link is given below.

Phlegethon” is one of the new songs and it is another very dark and doom-laden track, played at a slow tempo. It is almost an instrumental with a few screams during the final third of the track to enhance the gloomy atmosphere. Atmosphere plays the key role in “Phlegethon” and PHRENELITH smartly deliver a spine-chilling track. “Gorgonhead” and “Kykytos” are the other two tracks from the 2017 EP and the rearrangements offer a bit more darkness and a bit more technical quality, but on the other hand, brutality and rawness get lost.

After the 87 seconds acoustic interlude “Χίμαιρα”, the album closes with the seven minutes' track “Chimaerian Offspring Part 2”. As part one, it starts at breakneck speed with lots of blast-beats and double-bass drumming, but changes quickly to an almost stomping, head-banging rhythm. There are a few similarities in the guitar riffing between part one and two, but in part two, the focus is more on atmosphere and darkness, in particular during the second half of the track. “Chimaerian Offspring Part 2” is probably the best indication where PHRENELITH is at the moment in terms of their sound.

Chimaera” leaves me with mixed feelings. Did PHRENELITH progress compared to their debut album in 2017? There is not an awful lot of new material. The new songs are chilling, old school Death Metal songs. PHRENELITH focus on atmosphere, not on aggression and I like this approach. There is a lot of repetition in the guitar riffing, making a few songs longer than necessary. The answer to the question is no, I do not see any progress. PHRENELITH need to step up with the songwriting. The production of the album is second tier at best, in particular for the vocals and the guitars. “Chimaera” is a step backwards compared to the debut album and the hope remains that PHRENELITH come back stronger with better composed new material in the future.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Awakening Titans
2. Chimaerian Offspring Part 1
3. Phlegethon
4. Gorgonhead
5. Kykytos
6. Χίμαιρα
7. Chimaerian Offspring Part 2
David Torturdød – Vocals, Guitars
S.D – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
J – Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Winter Records


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