Phrenelith
Desolate Endscape


3.4
great

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
April 12th, 2017 | 128 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death metal sucks but Phrenelith are pretty cool.

Death metal sucks. You know, I know it, everybody knows it--as a genre it's bottom barrel garbage. I'll spare you the "everything is OSDM nowadays" diatribe because you can find hundreds of similar sentiments in every corner of the Internet. Yet still its fans clamor for more. Despite every band sounding like Obliteration these days they still shovel it in.

That's because in spite of it all, the aesthetic that is death metal will sometimes strike a chord. Sure 95% of the genre waxes poetic about burning Christians while using the vocabulary of a kid who just discovered Dungeons and Dragons, but when a band gets it right it feels good. Not in the "I'm 16 and just heard Leaves Turn Inside You" feels good, but moreso in the "I love this ***ty B-horror movie" kind of way.

Phrenelith are that sort of band. While felating every death metal trope they manage to transcend their peers in a surprising ways. Desolate Endscape has the chunky drums and bass you would expect, the grimy production, and hell even the nearly indecipherable logo--it's all so predictable. However, at a time where the oppressive majority of of death metal is either 90s throwback or (to a much lesser extent) forward thinking and modern, Phrenelith play a warm and nostalgic homage to the early 2000s. Think, post-Diabolical Conquest Incantation and you'll have the right idea.

Again, Phrenelith are anything if not derivative. But sometimes that's okay! After all, when "Deluge of Ashes" kicks on, chances are you won't be thinking about the state of death metal in the new millennium. Desolate Endscape offers this sort of escapism through a perfectly worked aesthetic without feeling exactly like everything else out there. Yeah you can find the album in pretty obvious places--even in their (great) label mates, Undergang. The eerie tones and familiar song structures do little to evoke true feelings of inspiration, but sometimes it's good to return to that feeling you got when first spun, let's say, Last One on Earth.

Death metal sucks but often times the unique feelings it evokes are worth a trip down the same well worn path. Phrenelith play it safe with Desolate Endscape, mostly because there are so many ways you can play with the genre anymore. If you're someone who is looking for revelations within death metal in 2017 then wow do I have news for you. Yet if you're someone who wants something fun, familiar, and well done then you could do a lot worse than Desolate Endscape.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


Saying death metal blows these days is outright wrong imo. It's like every genre-you gotta dig to find the gems. You also say that like you've heard all the death metal there is, although to be fair most people (myself included) will make sentiments about pop and country without having heard most of it

Digging: Neurosis - Enemy of the Sun

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2017


9890 Comments


ah

xenophanes strikes again

OvDeath
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2017


2200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I disagree and agree with your sentiments in this review in weird ways. I do understand the feeling you describe perfectly--and also believe Phrenelith nail it with perfection--but I don't believe in your death metal sucks sentiment, nor do I believe Obliteration soundalikes are as common as you make them out to be.



That said this band bends a great fusion between that Immolation/Morbid Angel/Incantation aesthetic against the main members' history of groovy Autopsy and Impetigo worship. It's a really cool contrast that makes the songwriting here exceedingly fun to engage with

Anthracks
April 12th 2017


5954 Comments


terrible review, especially considering this album is pretty damn average death metal

Digging: Super American - Disposable

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2017


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Mostly shitting on DM for dramatic effect obviously

Digging: Artificial Brain - Infrared Horizon

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


I think that the review was written well but its entire goal was more so a rant at Death metal being shit and him saying that this sounds like Incantation. Like he doesn't say much about the actual sound of the album. If he was a new user it'd be w/e but like c'mon dude you're a staff.

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2017


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I agree with you OvDeath. This album is fun which is why I connected with it enough to write about it. It definitely hammers a sound that isn't represented as much as the glut of 90s throw back acts. It's not a rare angle, but it's enough of a novelty to be refreshing. Also it all comes together very well.

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


Actually I re-read it and you do describe the sound somewhat so my bad there

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2017


561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I agree that I didn't really describe it extensively but like how many DM album reviews with lines like "riffs are great, production is good" do you really want to read?

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


That's fair enough. That's why I really own review shit that's worth describing. Like it was either that Damn good or at the very least interesting.

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


That might also be why I write in long winded metaphors sometimes lol

OvDeath
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2017


2200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Metaphors suck. Descriptions of the music suck. A good review tells you what an album makes you FEEL

kascetcadettt
April 12th 2017


1602 Comments


shut up

OvDeath
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2017


2200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nah

kascetcadettt
April 12th 2017


1602 Comments


damn

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2017


9890 Comments


"A good review tells you what an album makes you FEEL"

actually yeah this is pretty much what i go for every single time when i write

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


What if I use the metaphors to describe how I feel?

OvDeath
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2017


2200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They're almost always gonna make the reader cringe because metaphors are intrinsically bad

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2017


12577 Comments


"Not in the "I'm 16 and just heard Leaves Turn Inside You" feels good,"

lol

Digging: These Arms Are Snakes - Easter

kingdedethefifth
April 12th 2017


2088 Comments


Yeah but like some albums transport you beyond wirds, ya know? Like with Hyperion it only felt fair to paint a gorgeous image that could really make someone feel how gorgeous I thought the album was. Sometimes the metaphors fit perfectly.



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