Phobos Monolith - When the Light Will Fade (EP)
Melodic Death/Doom
5 songs (20:49)
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Goat

Phobos Monolith comprises three Mexicans and a Texan, brought together out of love of classic melodic death and doom, and you can immediately see both the promises and pitfalls in their sound. Focus upon the promises and there are many; this kind of metal is easy to copy but hard to master, and although the likes of Insomnium and Swallow the Sun may have mastered it nowadays there's plenty of room for newcomers to push the genre boundaries outwards. When the Light Will Fade is this project's first release, and feels like it. There's a rough, raw edge to their sound typical of bands at the demo stage but you can feel Phobos Monolith straining at the leash, eager to prove themselves further. And when this good already, it's easy to agree that the band deserve more. None of the songs present drag or fail to make a good impression, driven by heavy riffing and the faintest of keys, vocals a gruff grunt throughout with not a sign of lighter clean singing. That's both a good thing and a bad thing; there isn't the hugest variety present here and it's easy to get lost in the songs which could use a couple more hooks and vocal variations...

Yet this EP convinces throughout with sheer force of will and exuberance from the musicians. The technical side of the band is solid, layering melody through The Fractal Undertow while the chugging guitars drive the song on. And although the rhythm guitars can default to a chuggy norm a little too much, they are effective as they are and add extra power to melodic instrumental interludes like that which gives Storm Breaker its My Dying Bride-esque vibe. That doomier approach is continued in the catchy Oktober (Lunar Ellipse) and to a lesser extent Credo (Amaranthine) which has a similar riff but points it in a slightly different direction before focusing on drum flourishes and a more early-melodeath approach to crushing ears. Throughout, songs are short and punchy, never outstaying their welcome, and it's easy to give the EP repeat listens. A fine first attempt; if When the Light Will Fade reminds you of anyone ultimately it's very early Paradise Lost - a hefty comparison, but then it's up to the band to live up to it. Good luck!

Killing Songs :
The Fractal Undertow, Storm Breaker
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