Like so many disenfranchised and deathly focused intelligent young men before them Fargo, North Dakota quartet Phobophilic were markedly more enraged by the false machinery of society in 2017 than they were yet ready to ponder the festering netherworld that might be conjured by their garage-crushed brutality. The resulting ‘Demo I‘ (2017) was a hardcorized embattlement, a taut and angered rendering of fat from flesh without any control over the cosmic power of the mind with riff in hand. An evolution of sorts has occurred since, as evidenced by the telling glimpse into their clockwork’d process by way of a 13 minute ‘Rehearsal 2019‘ (2019) tape showcasing the coming crawl and wail (plus, a cover of Megadeth‘s “Take No Prisoners”) they’d hammered away at the past year. A new heap of flesh has long thawed beyond February and now achieves prime fungal ripeness in the late summer heat. Death incarnate now appears to lead these youth unto their first professional tape, ‘Undimensioned Identities’, a four song escape into the void that’d dwell in zones far beyond the corporeal for inspiration.
“That Which Swallowed the Sun” is the teleportation rite that’ll send the previously inoculated to the realm of Disgrace, Cartilage (Finland), and Disastrous Murmur as it arrives with sporting riffs that’d plunge into the same dread a band like Cerebral Rot bring so heartily today. This thread continues into the second song but I believe this track is directly inspired by Morgue‘s underrated classic ‘Eroded Thoughts’ just in terms of compositions and introductory riffs, if not then still bravo for a dynamic and heady riff attack throughout. The Finnish side of things is reinforced once more on “Diminished to Unbeing” but at this point the current stable of ‘old school’ underground USDM bands are poised to take ownership of that classic sound due to such heavily explored influences; The song does noticeably crack into a case of the chugs in the middle and this ends up being the only meander away from excellence feature on this tapes ~19 minute run. My personal favorite piece on the album comes at the very end with “Synaptic Vessel” leading off towards a barreling death/doomed crawl that quickly begins to bend the line between Demilich-ian concepts and Carcass-esque theatrics completely with up-drilling solo flings along the way.
Phobophiliac have clunked a big stinkin’ boot on the table with this EP and it represents a fine example of growth for the band who’ve found their rhythms and voice as a death metal project within a reasonably short amount of time. Above all else it has a pretty sizable amount of riffs, sharp performances of said riffs, and an all around admirable touch of clarity that ensures their movements sound confident and powerful as their ancient influences. Are these guys album ready? I’d say pretty close, something ‘extra’ is needed to carry a full album that’d stand out above the rest of the field. Highly recommended. For preview purposes I’d suggest “That Which Swallowed the Sun” has the death ‘hook’ you want and “Synaptic Vessel” pulls it all together with fine variation upon the greater theme.
Filled with necrolatry. 4.0/5.0
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