Soon to be released on the mighty Dark Descent Records, “Bringer of Drought” is the second album by Canadian death metal band Phobocosm. If you’re new to their music, it can be described in one simple word: heavy. Make no mistake, this is probably the heaviest album you’ll listen to all year. It is simply a crushing effort designed to obliterate the listener’s ears. The method used to accomplish this is two-fold: the opening song, “Engulfing Dust” takes influence from the doom side of things, while other moments on the album are faster and incorporate more blasting. Regardless of which speed the band moves at, they always utilize dissonant riffing, making the entire album feel like a giant wall of sound (made even more evident by the fuzzing feedback that the album fades out with).
The aforementioned opener, “Engulfing Dust”, is probably the best song. There is something very hypnotic about the way the band plays when they’re going slower; with pounding double bass and long, drawn-out notes that are sustained for a while, you can’t help but find yourself getting lost in the atmosphere the band creates. Even on the songs that are faster (“Tidal Scourge” and “Ordeal” in particular), Phobocosm often manages to incorporate these crushing sections into the music. Fortunately, the production on “Bringer of Drought” is relatively laid back, meaning that when the band’s drummer is blasting away, it actually feels like the snare is more in the background (in fact, the only “loud” drum is the ride cymbal, which is often used to accent certain beats). This is appreciated because it prevents the blast beats from taking over the music, and instead relegates them to an atmosphere-enhancer.
As with the previous album, the primary influence on the band’s more abrasive side appears to be Immolation, but Phobocosm is continuing to carve out their own sound. With lengthy songs that are difficult to latch onto, Phobocosm succeeds by drowning you in noise. Put simply, this album is a monolithic entity. It is aided by its relatively short run-time of about 35 minutes, as the album never overstays its welcome. It might not be the most active record, or have the most riffs, but that isn’t what it sets out to accomplish. Modern death metal often fails to hold my attention, but Phobocosm is clearly a leader in the genre, making “Bringer of Drought” one of the most essential records of 2016!
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4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott