Full Length, Baneful Genesis Records
November 18th, 2011
Genre: Black Metal
Here we have the first release of a new band entering the circle of black metal, Icon Of Phobos. What a wicked cover.
Icon Of Phobos embrace orthodox and atmospheric black metal elements — if I had to say it would seem there's influence from the likes of Inquisition with a helping of atmospheric black metal. Not enough to be completely on that end of the genre but there is no doubt that the influence is there, and it certainly leans more to that side than anything.
A very ruinous and depressive atmosphere is invoked throughout this release. Seven tracks in all including an intro and instrumental outro which have some noise and sampling to bookend the album. The core tracks are composed of a fair amount of sustained notes and drawn out wavy/bendy semi-dissonant riffs which are quite satisfying and fall into atmospheric black metal territory before hitting more traditional gallops and powerchords. Quite heavy on the tremolo riffs as well when dissonant sustains are not being used but usually at a slower pace than more traditional acts, and there are occasional solos that hit on the more traditional side of the genre.
Also a very palpable bass presence and a massive injection of skillful drumming blankets this release (tons of blasts and kickers). Vocals are rife with despair and contempt, lots of echo/reverb and do not every hit the high end of things, staying low and growly/raspy but keeping the lyrics audible.
Overall this is a very solid first effort with some room for growth/experimentation in my opinion; they could do a lot more with what they have. It's hard to place but this feels familiar in some sense — not necessarily a bad thing of course. That said it's no slouch and certainly an enjoyable release. Fans of black metal with a progressive edge like Ascension and the latest Leviathan release or Mutilation Rites and Castevet will want to take a look at this one. You can pick it up on cd here.