“Phlogiston Catharsis”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s been over ten years since I abused my ears with France’s industrial metal terrorists PHOBOS. Time sure hasn’t mellowed them out at all. This is a brutal, grinding assault.

So much of what is termed industrial metal either sounds like evil disco or somebody throwing a garbage can full of golf balls down the stairs. PHOBOS is neither. They are like a slow motion holocaust in aural form. The pace is often slower and methodical, full of mechanical rhythms and distorted samples. These guys don’t forget the heaviness….this album is overflowing with crushing guitar riffs augmented by electronics. As you might expect, the vocals are pretty tormented and owe some influence to black metal.

One thing I like about “Phlogiston Catharsis” is that there’s a real attempt made to come up with individual songs. The tunes have a common core but there are noticeable differences. “Taqiyah Rhyzom” is really grueling sludge while “Aljanashid” has a definite Middle Eastern influence. Incidentally, the album is overflowing with 20 dollar words that may or may not be real. Titles include “Igneous Tephrapotheosis” and “Neurasthen Logorrh”.  The best (or worse, depending on your point of view) is saved for last, as “Smothered by Scoria” is so sick and diseased sounding, it achieves a kind of suffocating brilliance. Which is a good place to announce that PHOBOS never really goes overboard with the length of their songs. They are long enough to be memorable, short enough to avoid boredom.

Hopefully it won’t be 10 more years before I near the next assault from these cats.