Death metal comes in many different shades. Some death metal embraces the brutal, some the speedy, some the crushing, some the riff-heavy. Phobocosm’s new album, Foreordained, prefers to crush the listener under a wall of sound and atmosphere. The result is an engaging album that, while not without some minor flaws, is a worthwhile listen for genre fans.
Kicking things off in a suitable fashion is “Premonition.” The song is doomy, foreboding, and crushing—in short, the song establishes the album’s atmosphere effectively despite its short running time.
“Primal Dread” follows and increases the tempo. The approach overall is a wall of sound but subsequent listens start to reveal subtle riffing that helps elevate the song. While this song is the longest on the album it is never boring.
Next we come to “Everlasting Void,” easily one of the best songs here. It starts off with a bang and contains good riffs at various places within its length. Perhaps the best vocal hooks on the album are present here, as well.
If “Everlasting Void” contains the best vocal hooks on Foreordained, then “Infomorph” features the best riffing. The back to back success of these two songs help keeps the listener engaged and forms the highpoint of the album.
“Revival” is punishing. That being said, the song is not without hooks, even if they are subtler than some of the other songs on the album.
Finishing off Foreordained is “For an Aeon.” This song is solid and serviceable, with no real flaws, but it is not quite as memorable as most of the other songs.
If someone is looking for immediately hooky riffs in their death metal, then Foreordained might disappoint them. The focus is far more on crushing the listener beneath a wall of sound and an atmosphere best described as bleak. Because of this focus, the songs can be difficult to distinguish between at points. This issue is most noticeable when the drums are locked into blast beats, but when the drums are given more room to breathe the hooks become more evident. The riffs that are present are typically subtle in nature but are nevertheless compelling. Vocal hooks are present, some of which are easily heard on even a first listen.
I also want to note that while the album can sound a tad monotonous at points, it is never boring. In fact, with each listen I was surprised at how quickly the time passed. If you like your death metal to be crushing and bleak, then by all means make sure you take a listen to Foreordained. And if you prefer your death metal in other ways, it would still be worth your time to give this album a couple of listens. It’s a well done release that joins many other good death metal releases this year.
Final score: 8/10
Dark Descent Records will release Foreordained on CD, digital, and vinyl formats on December 8. Pre-order the album at darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com
01 – Premonition 3:50
02 – Primal Dread 10:12
03 – Everlasting Void 6:15
04 – Infomorph 7:47
05 – Revival 5:47
06 – For An Aeon 7:21
Upcoming PHOBOCOSM shows:
11/17 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Meadows
12/1, – Denver, CO @ Summit
12/8 – Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus
More US shows will be announced very soon.