Phrenelith
Desolate Endscape

After hanging out with David Mikkelsen, from Undergang, during their recent US tour, he mentioned he was also in Phrenelith, from Denmark and their debut album, Desolate Endscape was out on Dark Descent Records, but that the music was different than Undergang. Obviously on Dark Descent Records, for me is going to be an immediate win-win and with David playing guitar and singing, it had to be a home run, right? I mean Dark Descent never steers this guy wrong!! And this was album really came out of nowhere, for me, knocked me upside the head and delivered a tombstone piledriver to me again and again and again. Holy poop on a stick. The music is rooted in 90’s death metal, reminding me of Incantation, with a little more clarity in the guitar parts.

Album opener, “Conquering Divinity”, bursts into action with a killer guitar part and awesome drum pattern reminding me of 1991, New Jersey! The 39 second doomy mid-paced slow down comes crushing in and dooms you to death about 20 second later. Massive, massive headbang moment with some killer filthy vocals. The fast part slows down and the 2.25 isolated guitar moment is the Holy Shit moment with the mid-paced rumbling delivering a skull crushing neanderthalic chop to the gulliver. Nice little black metallish guitar melody at the 3.16 part. It’s only for a few seconds, but it’s terrific. “Defleshed in Ecstasy” is menacing with the Incantation like brutal doom death moment and in some places remind me of Disma. This is a slower doom death number, and the nice addition of squealing pinch harmonics add to the dreadful atmosphere the track conjures up. So damn heavy and the song adds a faster passage towards the end with guitar solos and more vacuum in a bag guttural vocals. One of the best songs all goddamned year!

“Channeling A Seismic Eruption” closes the 8 song 35 minute album with this 7 minute monstrously heavy tune. Opening with a part not too far removed, from labelmates, Desolate Shrine, shit gets serious at the 1.34 mark with a quick grunt and the plodding doom laden heaviness is suffocating with the massive guitar tone. This is the perfect song which sums up Phrenelith. You have the fast passages, but with a good dose of classic doom death plodding moments which are excruciatingly heavy. There is a lot of serious riffing on this song and the fast parts are rooted in a more classic, non-blast beat style. The sheer catchiness of the song structure and riffing at the 5.25 part and how the song trails off is perfection.
Desolate Endscape was never on my radar, but thankfully David pointed the release out to me.

This is one of the best albums of the year and from the looks of it I am going to have to be very selective, more so than I have ever been with my year end list. Right now 75% of my list is Dark Descent Records, lol. You know, it may actually stay that way, I’m not sure, but yeah I am going to be really selective. However Phrenelith is a shoe-in, as is Undergang. The production is natural, organic, but not raw. It’s true death metal heaviness, played in a style, from the late 80’s, 90’s, never sounding dated, but played with class. This folks makes the album even easier to absorb. It will attach to you like a tick to a deer. The cd booklet has photos and lyrics, which is cool. Phrenelith’s Desolate Endscape is a Buy or Die, especially if you consider yourself a fan of true death metal heaviness.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 17th, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay majesty

    Your review is spot on. There has been so many greath death meatal albums this year and this is one of the best. A lot of good things happening in Denmark with Phrenelith, Undergang, Dequisitor, Sulphours, Hyperdontia etc.


  2. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    This is awesome, along with Lantern, Immolation, John Frum, Analepsy, Necrot, Winds of Leng, Artificial Brain, Suffering Hour, Cannabis Corpse, Epoch, Desolator, Shaarimoth, Venenum, Sunless…it’s been a great Death Metal year so far and i have several releases i haven’t bought yet! Not only quality but there has been a lot of innovation and experimentation this year. The Old School stuff is really
    strong!


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