Review: “Through Deepest Fears And Darkest Minds” by Phobetor

Forged in the fires of Hell in 2018 at the hands of vocalist Debora Conserva, Phobetor began their journey down the left hand path with the idea of reflecting the chaos and anguish of life, capturing it’s furious energy and use it to reign terror on the masses with debut album “When Life Falls Silent” in 2020. Since then, line up changes have meant that the band is an almost entirely new beast for this sophomore album with new drummer Marc Dyos (Pythia, Descent), bassist Dredgewood (Meat Train) and guitarist Ross White (Pythia, Lunatic Hooker, Descent) all seasoned musicians and known entities. So while “Through Deepest Fears And Darkest Minds” is draped in the visionary art of Brian D’Agosta (Vallenfyre, Godthrymm, Goatwhore) and mixed and mastered by Neil Hudson (Krysthla, From Eden to Exile), what does it offer?

The answer to that is that while there is a clear building on the foundation of bones laid to rest with “When Life Falls Silent“, an album that offers a wealth of punishing and turbulent grooves inspired perhaps by the likes of Behemoth, God Dethroned and Belphegor, “Through Deepest Fears And Darkest Minds” is an entirely new form of evil. After a macabre introduction “Solace in Darkness” roars into Blackened Death Metal life with Conserva reminding somewhat of Once Human vocalist Lauren Hart with her brutal banshee roars that sear the flesh as she spits caustic fire. Sonically they have taken the rule book, thrown it in the fire and run like hell; up to a point the guitar work and atmosphere is reminiscent of Cradle Of Filth side project Devilment with a Blackened Death Thrash dynamic that is all about satisfying rhythmic punishment with little in the way of leads or solos. Variety being the spice of life White keeps things fresh by packing his musket down with plentiful groove gunpowder while well worked transitions and moments of nuance in the turn around on the riffs keeps the heads banging and the arms raised aloft in tribute. The tempo of the damned and perhaps an obvious choice for a single comes in the form of the punchy “One Last Breath” which brings the gang chantable vocal lines and staccato guitar work alongside lots of timing changes that are absolutely perfect executed. If this one had dropped in the early 90’s it could well have shone alongside “Where The Slime Live” by Morbid Angel or “Territory” by Sepultura – it has that kind of vibe to it.

Phobetor continue to live up to their name as “the Greek  God and personification of nightmares (the cause of Sleep Paralysis)” in the second half of the album with cuts like “Your Empty Shadow” seeing Dyos bring the trademark Black Metal blast beats as Conserva finds new ways to inflict her throat shredding unclean vocals upon our ear drums. She does that by contrasting a shriller and a darker tone in alternative patterns to give the impression of two vocalists while standing screaming at a blackened post apocalyptic sky with her fists clenched in pure venomous fury. Those vocals are as cutting as the lyrics and with no punches being pulled and no quarter given in the violent tongue lashing that she delivers while intertwining with the increasingly sinister aesthetic of the record as it plays out. Each cut doesn’t so much explode as roll over you like a tank; crushing you with the onslaught of rhythmic prowess and in “A Silent Nihility” they have saved one of their finer offerings for a powerful finale, it’s haunting overtones ringing in your ears long after the bell tolls. There is no doubt that the addition of a few leads and a solo here and there would give Phobetor another dimension but other than that, “Through Deepest Fears And Darkest Minds” has everything that you crave with more than its fair share of punchy surprises shrouded in a cloak of black [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Solace in Darkness
  2. Beneath Black Waters
  3. Screaming Silence
  4. One Last Breath
  5. Coerced Infestation
  6. Your Empty Shadow
  7. Eternal Slumber
  8. Within Death’s Embrace
  9. A Silent Nihility
  10. As Dreams Decay

Through Deepest Fears And Darkest Minds” by Phobetor is out 13th December 2021 via Black Jasper Records

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