Phalgeron
Cosmic Cataclysms

Better late than never, right? Released as far back as September of last year, this little monster of American blackish metal somehow slipped through the cracks. Cosmic Cataclysms, the debut full-length album from Seattle-based Phalgeron, is a splendid concoction of brutal savagery and sweeping melodies all rolled into one. But lest you think they are just another melodic death/black metal band (complete with dueling raspy/guttural vocals) in the vein of The Black Dahlia Murder and others, you’ll be sorely mistaken. Phalgeron has a much thrashier side to their barbarity, making their songs instantly catchier and memorable than most of their peers.

While many bands lurking in this sub genre of metal tend to go overboard with either the fretwork or the melodies, Phalgeron instead infuse their brilliant musicianship with a rather dummied-down approach. This in turn makes each track on Cosmic Cataclysms much easier to digest, thus leaving a longer lasting affect on the listener. This is made most abundant on the standout track “Tyrant Lizard King”, easily one of the more catchy songs of the past year. Though the trio doesn’t follow the simplified verse/chorus/verse rock-pop approach, their technical prowess and ability to write actual songs stands head and shoulders above their contemporaries.

Drummer Ian Rinn is silky smooth behind the kit and while he can be as ferocious as anybody when it comes to blasts, he opts to instead play a more pedestrian style of sonic battery. Like the great skinsmen King Fowley and Dave Lombardo, Rinn makes a point to hit all the toms and is prone to load up on the fills and rolls rather than just blasting away with reckless abandon. Also, he tends to stick to a simple single bass rhythm most of the time; when he unloads the ferocity it’s much, much more fierce, a talent not many of today’s younger drummers possess. Lane Storli (bass) and Tyler Splurgis (guitars) swap their harsh vocals equally, making that killer yin/yang style patented by Bill Steer and Jeff Walker so many years ago. While Storli’s bass sits in the back seat most of the time (this isn’t Atheist, after all), Splurgis shreds with conviction and his solos are crisp and well-thought out.

Production-wise the album is superb. It’s clean to the point where everything is clear and smooth, though the band was able to retain enough of the raw energy and venom within the music. Cosmic Cataclysms was produced and mixed nicely where it has that clean dirtiness to it, something that more bands should opt for these days.

In the end, Cosmic Cataclysms is a remarkable debut full-length for a young band. While they did release a four-song EP Extreme Pillaging back in 2008 while they were still located in the Los Angeles area, Phalgeron has taken their sweet time to release a proper debut. It was the right decision because Cosmic Cataclysms is a kickass slab of epic thrashy black death. Scoop this up without hesitation.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
June 26th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Great write-up Mike. Digging the samples after reading this piece.


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