Saturday, May 5, 2012

P.H.O.B.O.S. - Atonal Hypermnesia (2012)

Full Length, Megaton Mass Productions
March 19th, 2012

Genre: Industrial Doom Metal
Region: France

Atonal Hypermnesia is this secretive group's third full length, and it continues their unique journey with more ambient, industrial tonnage with a few more steps into plunging madness. It may be their best record yet.

P.H.O.B.O.S. offer up four lengthy and dense tracks on this release, each one filled with creeping drones and trembling heavy riffs that will plow you beneath waves of industrial noise. Hypnotic and heaving, cavernous and desolate atmospherics fill the dark void that they open up on "Necromegalopolis of Coprolites". The riffs here are muffled and could be compared to the warped rhythms that Portal achieve but are more repetitious — winding back and forth as the industrial drums repeat continuously. The vocals lay buried under the onslaught largely, whispered and echoing as a smooth bass riff meets the guitar. Cycling noise and samples (deep and booming) both accompany the slogging guitar or stand alone in some sections to give the track a very spacy or alien vibe. Sections of silence are interrupted as the riffs come full circle.

This is the formula that underlies each track on this record, and while it doesn't stray too far from that pattern it stays spellbinding and heavy at all times. It's truly impressive that they do so much with so little in terms of riffs. Apocalyptic, perhaps brooding is the only way to describe the tone of this record.

"Maelström Mani Padme Hum" is no exception which again opens with slow bends that grow in volume with the drumming. The riff drones deliberately with great weight for a bit with occasional additions of dissonance when the drowned vocals emerge, and not long after the bends become altered slightly. It's a very unique and strange heaviness which you're likely to only get from P.HO.BO.S. Riffs fade and an ebbing is all that is left for a time; it really does sound like the sounds that would emanate from deep within some ancient monster. Suddenly the drums slam back in as the hum and buzzing continues to entrance. Drums switch up with added punch when you hear the riffs begin to subtly swing back to the front until they're pressing against you with full force — disturbing and filled with darkness. Near the end as the guitar become more mangled this is the first time a scream rises above the instruments, and the song fades ominously with intermittent drum blasts.

"Solar Defrag" may be my favorite track on this record, and follows the previous one with a rumble, whirling like the blades of a massive flying machine. Electronic pulses shoot up continuously as the drums return. It's truly trance-inducing. The drums drop out leaving the whirling noise to stand alone, and it builds when the first riff breaks through: one massive, loud powerchord sustained and smooth. It continues to bore, gouges a deep ugly crater into your mind endlessly as the vocals seethe under them and the drums occasionally drop out. The riff only changes once into a huge bend far into the song and continues like that (slowing down to a crawl) right to the end.

The final track is "Transonic Mahasamadhi". It starts with a psychedelic tinge as the noise grows and grows until the thunderous drums kick into a sick rhythm, while the down-tuned guitar circles below. Repeating strongly, there's a break from the drums as feedback, delay and reverb take over for a short time — but then all elements return. Whispering accompanies a very subtle change in the riff, and then it shifts to an evil droning bend once again. Then after many cycles for the first time (though brief) we get some palm-muted chugs that stand beside the harsh chaos and sick bends before a return to the previous section. And it continues this way — a trudging hideousness unmatched with only brief glimpses of silence. The last leg of this album is filled with shifting pitches and frequencies, bass punches and almost inaudible vocals before we reach the conclusion.

I have to say this is definitely a huge step up from Anœdipal in my opinion, and from the material I've heard this impressed me the most. Unbelievably heavy, mysterious and strange. Highly recommended for those of you looking for lumbering alien heaviness. You can pick this up through Megaton Mass in cd and vinyl formats, the vinyl version comes with a cd copy as well.

Go get it.

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1 comment:

  1. This is some fantastic shit. I swear these guys just get better and better.