Dark Descent
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Premonition
02. Primal Dread
03. Everlasting Void
04. Infomorph
05. Revival
06. For An Aeon

As winter starts to tighten its grip, PHOBOCOSM are engaged in a desperate embrace with the dark. An enigmatic, shadowy crew from Montreal, they have released two previous albums, "Deprived" and "Bringer Of Drought": both wildly individual eruptions of pitiless, abyssal death metal with a powerful doom undertow. In 2019, they released the "Everlasting Void" EP, which took the Canadians' sound ever deeper into the dissonant ditch, and it is from that same wellspring of harrowing brutality that "Foreordained" emerges now.

If the first two PHOBOCOSM albums aimed to conjure unfathomable horror and the extinguishing of hope, their third realizes that unimaginable terror in three dimensions. The opening "Premonition" showcases a fatter, nastier sound than on any previous release, wherein punishing clarity is offset by the foul churn of inhuman riffs. Fans of INCANTATION, ALTARAGE and IMMOLATION will feel very much at home here, but as the sickening drag of "Primal Dread" begins to unfold, it becomes evident that PHOBOCOSM have retained a tight hold on a unique formula. It drifts and grinds majestically across ten languorous minutes, thick with morbid atmosphere and audibly hell-bent on snuffing out the light at the end of this claustrophobic tunnel. A re-recorded "Everlasting Void" exerts the same absurd weight, but with visceral blasting and stately, melancholy grooves adding intrigue to the intensity; "Infomorph" takes off at an ominous, mechanistic gait, before Cthulhu's maw creaks open and PHOBOCOSM glide through their death metal gears, shards of vexed melody poking through a shape-shifting carapace of black bile. "Revival" is a more succinct exercise in crushing skulls: doomed out and destructive, it highlights this quartet's incredible gift for expanding and contracting as a single organism, twisting tempos at will.

Emboldened by its superior production, "Foreordained" does few of the things that modern death metal expects. But neither does it conform to some mothballed view of the arcane past. Between those two extremes, a song like "For an Aeon" has space to breathe. Dense with dissonance but muscular and momentous too, it paints a vivid picture of relentless oblivion, culminating in a final haze of feedback and ghostly howls. Again, there are plenty of bands operating in similar territory, but the fruits of PHOBOCOSM's abominable recipe have an unforgettably strong and distinctive taste. A big stride forward from the band's early works, "Foreordained" is one 2023's heaviest experiences.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).