P.H.O.B.O.S. – “Anoedipal”

Published by The Metal Observer: http://www.metal-observer.com/articles.php?lid=1&sid=1&id=15068

Son of the war god Ares, “Phobos” was to the ancient Greeks the substantiation of fear. Phobos, the French industrial Doom Metal band, attempts to translate this term into music. Anoedipal is more a straightforward, brooding mass than a landscape of subtle ambience. What attitude you bring to it determines how seriously you take the fearful concept this band’s moniker implies.

Imagine if Blut Aus Nord took all the blast beats out of The Work Which Transforms God, and then put Kreator‘s Mille Petrozza on vocals. What you’re left with is a mechanized leviathan of synthesized percussion hammering away within an ocean of static dissonance. What you get in return is a vocalist who, while not hiding in the background, forms the biological component of an H.R. Giger painting. In fact I’ll go as far as calling this music the most appropriate soundtrack for viewing Giger’s works. For it is dark, mechanical and disturbingly alien.

The listener must be patient with this album to make sense of the slow, seemingly unorganized patterns of riffs raining down like volcanic ash. “Hans & Horses” is an immediate crowd pleaser with its main riff, but that alone is not worth the whole album. Nor will focusing on any particular instrument allow you to see the bigger picture. Atmosphere above, deep distortion below, with a wash of mechanical sounds and snarls in between form a product greater than the sum of its components.

Though patience is the virtue most rewarded by Anoedipal, it could have been shorter, so as to match the attention span of most prospective listeners.

Fans of later Blut Aus Nord, atmospheric and/or industrial music, or just unconventional music in general should get much enjoyment out of this album. But don’t let the appellation scare you away, for this album is more provocative of thoughts than of fears. But you’d rather be terrified, check out subtler acts like Spektr.

( Online October 3, 2008 )

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