Legendary French innovators P.H.O.B.O.S. return with their most ambitious album to date. Bleaker Beater was released independently through the band's label Megaton Mass Products on December 15th.
The release sees the band take some serious risks and strip back many of the elements that helped them to develop their dedicated fanbase across the last few albums. To quote the band themselves on this matter:
"After four guitar-oriented albums and EPs, P.H.O.B.O.S. have left strings instruments aside for this time. Tracks were born out of analog devices manipulations and were recorded during live sessions. By melting various elements of extreme electronica, black industrial and dark dub, "Bleaker Beater" perpetuates the exploration by P.H.O.B.O.S. of unconventional sonic territories, framed by blood and myocardic troubles thematics."
As the band state they have created a hauntingly and ominous sonic landscape of various dark and experimental electronic genres. While some of the bite of their previous album's instrumentation is missing, this space is filled with a doubled down focus on atmosphere. The band have really layered on a plethora of unsettling textures throughout the album.
Frederic Sacri's vocals are even more effective on this album as they cut straight through the electronic mix with surprising ease. While piercing this wall of sound they also blend remarkably well into it. The distorted, machine-like effects applied to them allow them to perfectly capture the same unsettling essence of the music itself.
Each track presents a different mix of elements from each of the electronic genres that the band have selected. While some have a more bity black industrial tone to them, others have a bouncier/bass heavy dark dubtech and some are more atmosphere heavy and exist within the dark ambient realm. Regardless of the genre split each and every track on the album is one hell of an auditory journey.
If you loved the band’s past few releases just prepare yourself for this to be a different listening experience. If you happen to enjoy dark electronic music or are open to trying something new, then I'm sure you will fall in love with the album the way that I have. One thing is for sure though, you won't know until you give it a try..
- James Sweetlove / jan 2022