Phobocosm - Deprived (2014)
Dark Descent Records
Review by Trevor Proctor
Montreal group, Phobocosm, have been orchestrating the darkest of death metal since their formation in January 2008 when S.D. (guitars) and J.S.G. (drums) left a previous band to team up with vocalist and bassist E.B. and guitarist R.M. Phobocosm was established with the sole purpose of twisting minds with their blend of death metal that contains a varied mix of extreme styles and tempos. Whilst incorporating a myriad of influences into their music Phobocosm have managed to keep their roots firmly implanted in old school death metal but have added snippets of black metal, doom and even ambient into the mix with devastating effect.
Their debut album, Deprived, has just been released on Dark Descent Records and it’s a forty eight minute trip to hell with their bleak, darkened death metal as the soundtrack. The album was mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Krallice) and Chimère Noire, who’s previously worked with Abyssal and Portal, designed the artwork. Phobocosm recently played two shows in Montreal and Toronto with fellow Dark Descent bands Thantifaxath and Adversarial to mark the album’s release – with Dark Descent supremo Matt Calvert declaring Phobocosm to be every bit as good live as they are in the studio.
From the first note of the opening track, Sleep Deprivation, it’s apparent we’re in for a treat – at just over three minutes long this agonizingly slow, tortured and doom-laden instrumental is enough to show us this isn’t your standard, run of the mill, death metal; it’s twisted, gnarly, suffocating and oppressive music that’ll torture the mind almost as much as it assaults the eardrums. From start to shuddering finish this is an album that grips you by the throat and never lets its vice-like grip weaken. The pace both during tracks and between them varies, but the heavy as fuck, oppressive, destructive, death metal is ever-present; obliterating and battering the senses throughout.
Tracks like Solar Storm blast the shit out of you with their frenetically paced heaviness from the beginning whilst others like Solipsist worm their way under your skin in a slower, more subtle manner – either way the result is the same as Phobocosm show us there’s a lot more in their musical arsenal than blue-printed death metal and impress us with their varied dynamics and style at each and every turn of their demented path.
Death metal was never intended to be pretty but this is an ugly, blackened, hideous beast of an album – whilst instantly accessible it’s also an infectious, grower of a listen that warps the mind and burrows its way into your subconscious a little more each time you give it a spin.
Dark Descent Records has a seriously impressive roster of bands with the likes of Lvcifyre, Corpsessed, Father Befouled and Lie in Ruins being just a few of their sterling signings. With Phobocosm, once again, they’ve signed a band that sits well amongst these heavyweights of Death Metal. If Matt’s opinion of their live ability is anything to go by then this is a band with a first-rate future ahead of them - both in and out of the studio. An outstanding debut.
1 - Sleep Deprivation
2 - Solipsist
3 - Knives in the Senate House
4 - Solar Storm
5 - 27 Days of Darkness
6 - Drowned
7 - Awaken Unconscious
8 - Forever Doubt
Deprived was released by Dark Descent Records on September 30th.