Monday, 28 April 2014

Dephosphorus - Ravenous Solemnity 2LP


I've been quite over the last week, mainly due to other commitments. The good news is that I no longer have to commute for my job, as I have found one closer to home, which means I have more time in the evenings. So without wasting any more time, I've decided to take a look at Dephosphorus's new double LP Ravenous Solemnity.

I haven't featured Dephosphorus here since I reviewed their split with Wake in 2012. I haven't even got round to reviewing their previous LP Night Sky Transform yet! I'll need to remedy that soon. Anyway, Ravenous Solemnity was released in February by 7 Degrees Records and Canadian label Handshake Inc. Those of you who are familiar with his Greek grind-trio will know just how heavy they can be.

Tracklist:-

1. Reversed Into Contraction
2. There Is A Colour
3. Ancient Drone
4. Dark On Dark
5. Astrocyte Portal
6. Storming The Sloan Wall
7. False Vacuum
8. Ravenous Solemnity
9. Towards The Cold, Mysterious Infinity
10. Hammer Of Logic
11. Fountain Of Daggers
12. Buried Alive In Obsolescence
13. Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation
14. Vicious Infinite Regress

For a trio, Dephosphorus are crushing. Opening with Reversed Into Contraction, they mix grind with hints of straight-up metal craziness. There are moments of angular sludge-riffage and while the tone is bass-heavy, they still achieve menacing swathes of melody. It seems that they’ve definitely taken rock to heart more with Ravenous Solemnity, as is evident during the opening bars of There Is A Colour. The screams of Panos Agoros are tortured with frustration and pain. 

The angular influence within Dephosphorus’s grind during Ancient Drone mixes with the ferocity of the drumming, and drags them away from their staple sound. Dark on Dark however, is as crazy as off-kilter as they get. It’s a shorter song and therefore benefits from a big hit in urgency, which is why they fit warp-speed drumming into the mix, with less of the rock n roll frills.

In case you thought it wasn’t possible for them to hit a higher, adrenaline fuelled level, they prove you wrong with Astrocyte Portal. As a song, it wipes you out and it’s relief mid-point when they settle into a bit of groove. The surprise chanting/singing only adds to the uber-mental feel of the song. Dephosphorus seem to head in so many different directions during Ravenous Solemnity, it can be hard sometimes to pin them down, but they’re nothing short of exhilarating. The screaming solo during Storming The Sloan Wall proves that point on it’s own. I also really like subtle metallic guitar tones.

Their musical prowess is heralded in with False Vacuum, which has a grand backdrop thanks to some excellent guitar work and a more laid back tempo, even if it’s temporary. There are hints of early Mastodon in the song, which you probably wouldn’t expect. It works well. Their longest and most expansive song comes in the form the title track, which is still only just over four-minutes in length. It further expands their arsenal of riffs. It’s a song of two halves for sure, with the second half peddling back into frenzied grind territory after the initial complexity of the first half. Musically, so far this is a belter.

That melody I talked about earlier on is again more evident during Toward The Cold, Mysterious Infinity. It’s these intro sections that propel this album to greater heights for me, instead of just being another blurring, feedback ridden noise record. Dephosphorus have made something varied and extremely listenable. A lot of that praise should go to John Votsis (Drums) and Thanos Mantas (Guitar, Bass), as without their instrumentation and the album structure as a whole, the overall feel would not have been possible.

Hammer of Logic and Fountain of Daggers hark back to the chaos of earlier releases, but with the band’s more controlled aggression, don’t end up off the scale. The true dissonance within Dephosphorus’s sound is heard in Buried Alive In Obsolescence, as things take a blackened-turn. The vocals are more akin to black metal, as is the overall melody and speed of the song. The cymbals crashes that appear higher in the mix, also bring forth the metallic edge too.

From then on, it’s just a chaotic ride to the end of Ravenous Solemnity thanks to the duo of Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation and Vicious Infinite Regress. The breadth of power that exposes itself during these two songs, seals this double LP as a huge success in my eyes. It might be grim and evil to the uninitiated but it reveals itself as a thing of beauty if you give it chance. It might take multiple listens to unearth its subtle layers, but then the best albums don’t reveal their cards too early do they!

Listen to Ravenous Solemnity in it's entirety here:-



You can purchase it both digitally and physically from the above bandcamp page.


You can also purchase it from 7 Degrees Records at http://7degrees-records.de/ and from Handshake Inc at http://shop.handshakeinc.com/Vinyl.

Dephosphorus Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dephosphorus

7 Degrees Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/7DegreesRecords
Handshake Inc Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/handshakeinc

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