(translated from Czech language)

Various thoughts fly through my head, including the bad, killing ones. A mental excursion to the very edge of sanity, a sort of analysis of accumulated stress. The decay of the good. Roughly these feelings run through my head when listening to any P.H.O.B.O.S album. Their discography offers a total of five. We already lost a few words about this French band in the review of the previous album Phlogiston Catharsis. About how their hard industrial music could be understood as a combination of Red Harvest and Blut Aus Nord, when they also collaborated with the latter on the split album Triunity (2014).

I have to admit that their latest work slipped through my fingers and I don't even know how to explain it. P.H.O.B.O.S. I really like it. Their destruction of any hope doesn't add much to the activity of the heart, but it's exactly the type of music to reach for when you're in the mood for something apocalyptic yet heavily industrial. But it's not doom like doom, and along with the Bleaker Beater album, we'll take it more emotionally than stylistically. This album is hard electronica, not metal. But that doesn't lessen the pain it causes.

Today, only the pair approached their latest album differently. If in the past four records they used guitars and have benefited from their power, today they resigned from them and subordinated everything to electronics. Of course, as with P.H.O.B.O.S. way, in a properly dense and unrelenting version. Somehow, the band has remained faithful to industrial doom, only they look at it purely electronically, completely without strings and live instruments. Bleaker Beater is eight tracks of heavy, lazily crawling electronic stuff. A mix of hard electronics, industrial and dub. One of the questions we will answer at the end of the review will be if P.H.O.B.O.S. guitars are missing or not.

Suddenly, I feel quite close to bands like Nadragea or Human Vault, who practiced their dark, nihilistic electro massage with me last year as a promo from Aliens production. Suddenly it's here again, that presence of crawling sonic outpourings, tiresomely blunt yet stinging tempos. Already Pyrocene Antibodies, the first song of the album with a lamenting chant, offers a combination of post-doom avant-garde, which somewhere in the gray cortex of the brain is connected to Blut Aus Nord (or Yerûšelem), but at the same time it is led more into a typical dark electronic environment. Which is what the following and also attractive Haemophiliac Stomp tries to do, despite the dub playing. P.H.O.B.O.S. fit themselves deep into the harsh and bleak programmed wiring, where they are really far from live instruments.

The band burrowed into rigid, unventilated electro constructions, which systematically destroy hopes for a bigger recovery. That word just isn't in the Bleaker Beater album vocabulary. P.H.O.B.O.S. descends track by track below the surface and mine only fat machine music comas. If the third thing, Basalt Ganglia, offers a small motive to inhale, then things get really stiff. Hyperkalem Pathogens has such a slow pace that it almost stops and collapses. If the flavor of doom remains on the album, it is this track that brings it back into play in the form of its deconstruction. But there's no stopping P.H.O.B.O.S. to turn up the pressure and serve up Procollapsolog. I would like to imagine Solve et Coagula with a guitar, this track offers it right on the plate. The speed is minimal, the monstrosity climbs to the surface and the mechanics are at maximum for a change. The band is already up to its neck in the territory where we can say that the guitars are simply missing. So yes to me. I'm already in the dark from the stereotypical, pig-stiff synthetics and I want to move at least one step. But as you can predict, it won't be easy. Granulahar Toxin continues to deepen what I'm dying for and the way out is the rhythmic rage at the end, Beta Blocker. Maybe I would have appreciated more such things on the album, so listening to it is quite nerve-wracking. But that's the point.

A few words in conclusion. A more metallic P.H.O.B.O.S. is closer to me than the purely electronic ones. Bleaker Beater is quite a strong coffee and one has to leave room for processing such a heavy mass. Despite the fact that I think I have fallen in this direction, so far the last board of the French machinists leaves me a little embarrassed. They kill famously, but I see them more as a special and moving the doom rink to another level. Otherwise, I'm calling for rawer and heavier P.H.O.B.O.S.

On this fifth album, the band shreds psych without guitars, showcasing dense electronic abstraction that really hurts.


- Victimer / aug 2022