By: Lord Randall
Copenhagen’s PHRENELITH kicked up grave dirt fairly consistently from its initial 2015 demo until the “Ornamented Dead Eyes” EP from 2018, and then…nothing. While full length debut “Desolate Endscape” was solid as fuck, the band’s disappearance seemed like it had failed to strike while the iron was hot, as it were.
And now comes “Chimaera”, drawing heavily (and possibly not so strangely) on Greek myth. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised to see the entire 2017 “Chimaerian Offspring” EP show up here, especially since it was released before the album of that same year, but I’ve often thought that one of the best parts about an EP is that it gives the bands a chance to stretch, to probe…to see if a certain idea actually works, so I’ll keep my trap shut. ”Awakening Titans” emerges, shaking, drowsy-headed, but quick enough snaps to with churning malevolence. That over its seven-minute length, it never loses sight of the melodies that haunted “Desolate Landscape”, but expands on what can be done within the framework of what PHRENELITH has done thus far is a triumph on its own.
“Phelegethon” pulls things back to a crawl, rarely venturing above mid-pace until a short interlude [2:26-2:45] is jugular-ripped by an equally abbreviated pummel, just to keep the listener on their toes. From the aforementioned EP, “Gorgonhead” is as it was, not much changed, but it didn’t need to be, as it was a highlight of the band’s work, and remains so, while “Kykytos”- despite being one of the shorter tunes found here – is cavernous, memorable and jarring as all death metal of this sort should be.
After a short instrumental piece, we are treated to the finale of “Chimaerean Offspring – Part II”. At nearly eight minutes, as with “Awakening Titans”, the quartet had a lot of time to fill, and fill it they did. Slithering, scaly, hackle-furred and Centaur-tailed, it’s truly the song of the album for me. A…yeah, I’m going there…true Chimaera.