Phthisis - Phthisis (demo)
Black/Death Metal
4 songs (18:25)
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Goat

Apparently recorded in 2011 but only now released after a falling-out over financials, this set of songs is a rather tragic what-if. A technical and original mixture of influences that takes in everything from Gorguts to Abigor, the result is a grimy barrage driven by some intriguingly twisted riffing. Opener Sacrificial Crematorium simply slithers out of the gate, a compelling track that moves from fast blasting to a slower, more atmospheric style that lingers just long enough to be uncomfortable before returning to speed. There's an interesting similarity to early Cryptopsy in the yowled vocals and overall approach, although it's much slower and less deranged than Lord Worm and co. Instead, you can really hear the aforementioned Abigor influence, especially in the vocals and dissonant riffing, if Phthisis prefer to be more structured than the Austrians' most recent work.

That Abigor influence is more apparent on the following Serpents of Ophiuchus, slower and more technical yet not afraid of a bit more groove in the riffing and a bit of Attila Csihar in the almost sneering vocals. Clinical Dreams actually sounds like something from Chimera or modern-era Mayhem as covered by a tech-death band, mostly slow-paced and even throwing in a bit of mathcore influence in the jagged-edged riffing. It's almost overwhelming on initial listens as your brain scrambles to make sense of it all, but it is one of the more impressive demos I've heard lately, not least because it's seven years old and in an alternate universe the likes of Profound Lore would definitely have picked up on this and given the band a shot at greater glories. Despite extreme metal's devotion to the underground, there must be a lot of groups making intelligent music like this that fail at those hurdles endemic to the music business like money and personal relationships, and although we're hearing from Phthisis late, it's better than never. A tinkered lineup of the band are back together and hopefully over past strife, which is only a good thing. Listen to (and purchase) this release here.

Killing Songs :
Sacrificial Crematorium, Clinical Dreams
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