Phobophilic – Enveloping Absurdity

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Hailing from North Dakota Fargo, the death metal group Phobophilic's first full-length album 'Enveloping Absurdity' offers one of the year’s bone-chilling classics. The successful follow-up to the 2019 EP 'Undimensioned Identities' shows great songwriting maturity and musical cohesion. Proving their sheer brutality the eight songs are achieved with compelling talent. It is a pensively crafted album in which the intense riff work and the drumming are executed with brute strength. Unlike their peers, Phobophilic never relies on blast beats, rather the guitar imposes a meaty tone. While there is plenty of intense riffing, they’re still distinguishable.

The opening track ‘Enantiodromia’ provides variations on the technicality of the guitars and agility of the drums. While the vocals are soaked in the cavernous echo of death metal, they truly have a horrific nature. The compactness of the lead guitars often creates a grotesque amalgam as it melds the dark and crushing riffs in the mid-tempo. ‘Those Which Stare Back’ is loaded with hooks, effectively allowing the guttural growls to spew their cavernous viciousness. The bass guitar is given plenty of space in the mix: be it in the form of old-school death metal this intriguing amalgam of the North Dakota quartet certainly knows how to weave grisly riffs.

The latter track ‘Nauseating Despair’ is admittedly catchy and even has melodic lead guitars that work well. The drums on the album are bouncy brutal, and overwhelming, yet smoothly shift from one pacing to another. When the double bass and blast beats kick in, they become the key compounds of brutality. Phobophilic takes a shift from the 2019 EP ‘Undimensioned Identities’: the songwriting quality bears the visceral depth and while the lyrical themes don’t only focus on the Lovecraftian mythos, the songs are very consistently wrapped in horrific obscurity. ‘Cathedrals of Blood (Twilight of the Idols)’ is anchored by murky guitar riffs that exhibit that old-fashioned rawness. Though the bass guitar gets one of the album’s standout moments the drums slams you hard with a crushing stomp.

The element of horror is firmly molded into the overall theme of the album. The macabre atmosphere has many twists and chills that seem to be textured with guttural pitches. While the instrumental segment ‘Individuation’ serves as a dark, appalling theme that puts a spell on you, clean guitars and ambient keyboards are emphasized to create a grim atmosphere. Phobophilic breaks new grounds on its first studio album: setting up a undisputed signature sound, the gruesome riffing is augmented by the solid pounding drumming work. ‘Enveloping Absurdity’ hits the right balance as the quartet smoothly allows their songs to take a moldy shape, eventually drawing the listener into the miasmic pool of filth.

With the slow eerie guitars on ‘The Illusion of Self’ striking such fine song-craft that balances ferocious blast beats the result shows a remarkable take on cavernous and atmospheric death metal. Phobophilic takes a lot of influences from death metal bands such as Tomb Mold, Demilich and Incantation, but the way they merge all these influences makes the whole sound very cohesive and original. Every track is bolstered by massive riffage and tectonic drums. These features generate potent brutality. While the album’s filthy aura is fear-provoking and horrific, the murky riffage offers plenty of standout moments that you won’t be forgetting any time soon. The songs shift to different paces switching from fast brutal riffage and classic death metal to slower chord progressions.

Survive in Obscurity” perfectly incorporates these sections without any flaws: the drums shift the gears from mid-paced passages to some furious pummeling. Phobophilic brings a diverse mixture of influences from the sub-genre of death metal. There are some technical variations as well as some nuances of progressive death metal.

Enveloping Absurdity’ is a kind of sophisticated album with many bizarre twists loaded with chugging guitars and monstrous growls. It is noteworthy to mention the excellent work of the lead guitars on the album. The album’s title track offers murky and cavernous riffs, though the guitars and the drums always add weight as they are the driving force of this song, straddling the atmospheric vibes and switching between chunky death metal riffs to technical faculty.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10
9

This is a great transformation from the EP. Phobophilic has once again emerged from obscurity to climb further up to the hierarchy of old-school death metal bands. This is highly recommended for fans of Tomb Mold, Fetid and Chaotian.

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