It’s every now and then that a band comes from seemingly nowhere out of the ever-present ether to deliver to us an album that not only captures the minds and ears of thousands all over but makes those lucky listeners all but ravenous for a band that we have virtually nothing from in way of material. When Phrenelith dropped their first full-length album, “Desolate Endscape”, four years ago, the underground was absolutely ablaze from their performance. Unrelenting death metal the likes of which that many strive for while having so many elements that make underground death metal such a treat no matter what era we’re talking about, Phrenelith instantly made themselves a name to follow. The interest for them has not waned, and it’s with their second full-length offering that Phrenelith has sharpened their axes to bring us another assault of bloodied darkness the likes of which I simply cannot get out of my mind.
Immediately, it’s tempting to draw a comparison for what these seven tracks offer to us here with what Phrenelith accomplished with “Desolate Endscape”, but in every way, I find that would be an insult to this creation for all the new things it brings to the table, the resurrections we see take place in a splendid fashion and the perseverance of unparalleled brutality that we rarely see with such effectiveness and potency. The drab but highly evocative cover art that “Chimaera” boasts is all but perfect for a creation like this as you can really feel the skies darken as soon as you let the album take you for it’s in this performance that Phrenelith truly makes a presentation of death metal that is the very definition of all-consuming with there being no inkling of high-class production values to boast so the very whole of the work has a well-defined underground layer of nastiness to it that was all but tantalizing. Add on top of that an undeniably thick atmosphere that isn’t something that we would consider ambiance or some off-brand dissonance that we can find all over the world of extreme metal, but it nonetheless permeates every possible facet of “Chimaera” to make it utterly compelling right out of the gate as we see it blended beautifully with vicious riffage and death metal expertise that we could only come to expect out of true masters of their craft.
This album is not merely a vessel for Phrenelith to revisit some of their older material in order to give it the proper treatment but improve on them in virtually every way, but “Chimaera” is Phrenelith’s announcement to the whole of the underground that they are not merely a one-and-done band that is to be lost to the depths of time with following material that is all but uninteresting. In the face of such a monumental challenge that has brought many acts to their knees, it’s with everything Phrenelith brought forth here that they show they’re a true force to reckon with when it comes to modern death metal with the attitude, talent, and ferocity to stay relevant no matter what.
“Chimaera” releases on December 10th via Nuclear Winter!
LISTEN to an advanced track from “Chimaera” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Phrenelith on Facebook here.