My diary was enriched with the entry P.H.O.B.O.S. about four years ago, when I accidentally came across their split with Blut Aus Nord. Although the word enriched is a bit exaggerated, because I don't remember any of them at all. However, when I saw the name again, the neurons began to jerk quite violently, and the Transcending Obscurity Records signing quite convinced me to the point. I started listening and, boy, that was a really good decision.
The fourth full-length of the French is forty-six minutes of blackened industrial doom metal. Slow but relentlessly attacking riffs may not be particularly heavy, but combined with a very dark atmosphere and industrial rhythms at the front of the record, they create a honey-dense atmosphere full of vile rituals and blasphemous occultism. Associations with Lovecraft, although very often overused, are just right here. P.H.O.B.O.S. masterfully moves in a style inflated with horror, which, however, wades in order to discover horrendous secrets. Phlogiston Catharsis is also very consistent. The individual numbers flow seamlessly into each other and constitute successive acts of the journey. At the same time, they are not secondary, in principle, each one stands out from the others. From the hell-inducing icy industrial Biomorphorror, through the ominously eerie Igneous Tephrapotheosis, Aurora Sulfura's scorching monsters and the contrasting Neurasthen Logorrh, to the calmer and more terrifying Taqiyah Rhyzom and the proud and haughty Smothered In Scoria, the listener gets more and more lost in this horror. The album copes very well without accelerations and sudden twists, it intrigues and pulls you in without fireworks. A large role in this is played by very atmospheric melodies, often touching on arabesques. Add to this the discreet but noticeable presence of samples and we have an album where something is going on almost all the time.
Especially when we add production to it, perfectly harmonizing with the content. The hypnotic pulse of the drums, the sound of guitars heavy and artificial, but clear, without debris and the digital aftertaste hovering over them significantly create the atmosphere. And when we add to this hissing, hideous, black metal vocals, P.H.O.B.O.S. starts to grab you at the throat and does not want to let you go.
While doom usually gets me like benzodiazepines, Phlogiston Catharsis deserves recognition even from a fan of fifteen-second songs. The amount of atmosphere contained here with dirt and horror will be enough for you for the whole of October.
- Kapitan Bajeczny / sep 2018 (9/10)