SWALLOWED "Lunarterial"

PHOBOCOSM "Deprived"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Only the darkest of minds need to hear the dirges spewing from these two bands. Out on the aptly named Dark Descent label, they will appeal to those who like to kill a few hours flagellating themselves with a stiff wire brush.

Swallowed hail from Finland and follow in the tradition of dreary, filthy death/doom from that gloomy land. This will really push you to your limit with extreme noise, dire shrieks and tormented feedback. After a while, it kind of rolls off your back. There are some monstrous doom riffs to be found in the likes of "Black Aura" and "Libations", but you have to wallow through five acres of mud to find them. ":Libations" clocks in at a mind-numbing 25 minutes plus and though it contains the most pulverizing riffs of the album, the length causes my mind to retreat into a cave long before the conclusion.

I much prefer Phobocosm's most focused but no less demented approach. Coming from the incredibly fertile Montreal metal scene, this band's songs are tighter and shorter than Swallowed's, but are no less uneasy. Warped, twisted riffs prevail and much of "Deprived" also lands in the doom category. Bands like Gorguts and Deathspell Omega are not a bad comparison to make. Cuts like "Knives In the Senate House" and "Solar Storm" rip along unmercifully on the edge of chaos without diving over into complete noise and cacophony. That makes this band the all-around better proposition. If you dig stuff like Portal and Ulcerate, check it out!