With acts like Godflesh, Drug Honkey, and even Eyehategod, there’s certainly no shortage of industrial metal acts that take the genre to aggressively psychedelic lengths that are both terrifying but amazing to behold. It’s never really been my cup of tea, yet every now and then it catches my eye. But the style has yet to really grasp my attention, keep it, and then make the ensuing material good enough for me to come crawling back to much more. Although, that’s before I discovered the dark glory that is P.H.O.B.O.S.
A cover like that definitely brings a few things to mind. Namely, something along the lines of “what the fuck”, which is more than fair. But I’ve always stuck to the firm belief that the cover art for an album should have a deep connection with its album. If there’s some sort of metaphorical or literal reason behind that fiery piece of art behind today’s, it’s flown right over my head, but I can tell you right now it fits this music more than perfectly! And even calling what P.H.O.B.O.S. has created here “music” would be putting it mildly as this slab is a full-on assault upon every sense of the human mind and soul to culminate in something that’s equal parts incredibly fascinating and immersive the likes of which metal can easy but rarely touches upon. If you’re familiar with this style in the slight, prepare for something that’s sure to astound you. If you’re new, prepare for something truly menacing.
Leave it to a style such as mechanically haunting as industrial metal, or just the entirety of industrial music in general, to create an act as refined yet devastatingly raw as P.H.O.B.O.S. Coming off a split with the ever-notable Blut aus Nord, P.H.O.B.O.S. return with “Phlogiston Catharsis” after six years of not a full-length to be seen, and their return couldn’t be any more triumphant if they fucking tried! Just being industrial metal alone is intimidating enough, but infusing all that with black and doom metal elements, sludgy drones that hit like an absolute ton of bricks, and an undeniably unique sound that no other band can come close to touching allows “Phlogiston Catharsis” to evolve into something else entirely by the end of the first track. It may seem a little daunting for the average listener, but the seasoned veteran can dive into this cesspool of pure chaos and flame over and over only to find new things to enjoy be either the echoing melodies against cave walls, pulses of rhythms created by the impact of falling stars, or vocals that sound as though they’re evil incarnate.
Every moment of “Phlogiston Catharsis” brings a new challenge to overcome with only the delirious of souls able to conquer such a devastating record that truly holds nothing back. It’s an absolute trip to experience from start to finish, and being able to go back in several times is a testament to the hypnotic nature of this haunting material that extremely few bands of the industrial genre have been able to even get a grip on. P.H.O.B.O.S. was a new name to me until recently, but I can easily see this piece growing on me even more in time as it’s easily the most unorthodox and exhilarating record I’ve heard in months.
“Phlogiston Catharsis” releases on September 10th via Transcending Obscurity Records!
LISTEN to advanced tracks from “Phlogiston Catharsis” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE P.H.O.B.O.S. on Facebook here.