Phobocosm – Deprived (Dark Descent Records)

Sunday, 14th September 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

The cavernous death metal movement has been one area that has been expanding as of late. Taking the crawling and sinister vibes of bands like Incantation and Immolation, the dissonance of bands like Gorguts and Ulcerate, and the sometimes-gritty older death metal feel, it also goes in a number of extremes. You’ve got the more horrific aspect a la Portal and Aevangelist, or the more space-y death metal approach of bands like Artificial Brain. Somewhere along the line here sits Phobocosm, with their debut, Deprived.

While the sound isn’t really anything particularly new, Phobocosm have quickly found their niche to settle in. Not operating at the technical level of Gorguts, nor settling for the sludgy and chaotic Impetuous Ritual sound, there is a nice middle ground that Phobocosm has a solid grasp of. The sound (with production helmed by Colin Marston) is suitably dark, while retaining enough melody that gives them more of an individual identity than most in this sub-genre. They avoid the trappings of needing to fill the space with sound as well, providing some breathing room and allowing the riffs to gather some weight and feel truly deliberate. While they do occasionally fall victim to sounding too much like their influences (mostly Immolation/Incantation here), the way that their varied tempo approach works is by winning over the listener by finding some retainable, bone-crushing riffage in each track.

Dark Descent usually has a way with finding fresh extreme metal talent, and Phobocosm is no exception in this regard. Deprived is an enjoyable debut from a band that is already confident in their abilities and style. With some jettisoning of their influences on their next release, Phobocosm will be a band to watch.

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