It must be French doom day because it is the second review in a row of a band from France. 'Atonal Hypermnesia' is the third album by the ever mysterious P.H.O.B.O.S. It is remarkable that this band remains as obscure as they are given the fact they have released nothing but amazing material since forming 12 years ago. The band has always been a disturbing band to listen to...ugly, noisy and always challenging but this new album is their most monolithic album yet. Trying to describe this French act is not easy. They are doom, sludge, and ambient but with large doses of industrial noise and atmospheric black metal thrown into their ugly blend of cavernous music. There are only four songs on this album but they are all around 14 minutes long and if that scares you off from listening, that should be the least of your fears.
P.H.O.B.O.S basically stick to the same formula on every track but it is strangely hypnotic for all of this albums 57 minutes. Through their use of crushing riffs, drones, samples, bleak yet captivating atmosphere and repetitious drums, the songs are trance-like and never get boring. The vocals which are largely buried underneath the desolate atmospherics add even more to the hypnotic quality of this album and with catchy little song-titles like 'Necromegalopolis of Coprolites' and 'Maelström Mani Padme Hum' how can you go wrong? The bands strength is they do a lot with very little. The riffs are basic and don't vary too much and yet they seem to be constantly evolving into something else and forever building in atmospheric drama. The only element that takes some time in getting used to is the mechanical beats but to my ears that just adds to the coldness and apocalyptic nature of the recording. The band is very much influenced by industrial masterpieces made by the likes of Godflesh and that influence comes through on every track but this is a much bleaker, doomier affair than most industrial acts ever come up with.
The album is evil sounding, disturbing and spine-chilling and it can make you feel very uncomfortable at times. In terms of sound, there is not many bands that sound like P.H.O.B.O.S either. This entire album sounds like it was recorded under water or buried in mud and while that would be a problem for most other bands, in this case the effect is perfect for building the nightmarish atmosphere. 'Necromegalopolis of Coprolites' is perhaps the sickest piece out of the four but the vibe nor the style doesn't really change much till the last track 'Transonic Mahasamadhi' which brings in a more psychedelic flavor into the mix but even that doesn't last for long. The dissonant riffs on this album are truly memorable and you can't say that too often when talking about an industrial kind of black-doom album. The four pieces are so well written, performed and produced that the album ends up being a fascinating and mesmerizing listening experience. This is one of those rare albums where every song basically repeats the same formula and yet you don't really notice it. This is incredibly heavy in parts, almost too heavy in some regards and the production is flawless. This is an album you can play again and again ....
- june 2012 (9,5/10)