Ravenous Solemnity

Written by: MST on 02/04/2014 00:48:56

One of the things I love the most about being a music fan has to be discovering some unknown, obscure band that absolutely slays, exceeding any and all non-existent expectations I could've had prior to the first listen. This February, Dephosphorus released their second album titled "Ravenous Solemnity", an album that I discovered by a total accident. The Greek band dabble in a very interesting blend best described as blackened deathgrind, or as the band themselves call it: astrogrind. Astrogrind! How about that?

The 'astro' part mostly comes from the brilliantly creative and highly abstract lyrics, as titles like "Astrocyte Portal" and "Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation" hint at. Without the lyrics, what we have is an extremely catchy concoction of grindcore and blackened death metal riffs, as well as some odd vocals that I think fit the music and the concept. Let's start with the riffs: whether we're talking about the blazing blackened tremolos, the incredibly catchy main riffs of album highlights such as "Storming The Sloan Wall" and "A Fountain Of Daggers", or the simpler, more grindy riffs that make up the backbone of the whole album, Thanos Mantas is a masterclass guitarist. Once you get past the vocals that might catch you off guard at first, those riffs are what makes you remember the album and the songs found on it. As for the vocals: the best comparison, however unfitting it may be musically, has to be the American black metal band Weakling; the vocals are relatively high pitch, but not quite screams. They're definitely different from most other bands, but once you get used to them, they really fit the music, especially because of how decipherable the lyrics are when uttered in this manner.

Through the first 14 tracks, Dephosphorus keeps everything varied while maintaining that red thread which is so detrimental to the success of the album. Even as songs change in tempo and style from old school punk-inspired grindcore into blackened deathgrind territory with blasting drums and serpentine riffs, like is the case with "There Is A Color", which by the way contains lyrics way more abstract than the title immediately suggests, no ingredient ever feels misplaced. In the rare occasions when the music slows down, it is merely done as a means to building up towards the inevitable return to the energetic atmosphere that dominates the soundscape. Granted, some songs impress way more than others, but the album simply never gets boring. The replay value is incredibly high, as is the creativity showcased by the musicians on the album. And with the brilliant lyrics as well as quotes by the Scottish science fiction author Iain M. Banks both in the lyrics and in spoken form, this astrogrind album leaves me wanting nothing but more of the same.

The first solid contender for this year's lists of the best metal albums has arrived in the form of Dephosphorus's "Ravenous Solemnity". It's not a perfect album, but even the 'weaker' songs are really good and compliment the album as a whole. The only weak point, the band's cover of the Discharge classic "The Blood Runs Red", is only found on the digital version of the album; it simply doesn't fit the style that Dephosphorus so convincingly pull off otherwise. "Ravenous Solemnity" is this year's first truly praiseworthy album for this writer; it is a breath of fresh air in the grindcore genre, and an excellent one at that.

Download: There Is A Color, Storming The Sloan Wall, Hammer Of Logic, A Fountain Of Daggers, Glorification Of The Anti-Life Equation
For The Fans Of: Flourishing, Cattle Decapitation, A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Antediluvian, Napalm Death
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.02.2014
7 Degrees Records/Handshake Inc.

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