The Triumph of Blackened Death Metal - "The Epilogue to Sanity" Review (100%)
Unholy war machine Phantom continues its attempt to synthesize the past five albums into one. "The Epilogue to Sanity" shows the band combining death metal roots, traditional black metal, "war metal" - for lack of a better term - and its own homebrew balance of technicality and long, narrative, phrasal riffs in complex rhythms that carry on from the Angelcorpse and Incantation days of blackened death metal.
For a recap, "Eidolon" followed the strict and ambitious Neraines pattern of black metallish graceful melody and intense song architectures interspersed with shorter riffs like atmospheric death metal, the two following albums - "Fallen Angel" and "Memento Mori" - explored more of a war metal angle, then "Angel of Disease", which brought in a progressive flair with "Onward to Golgotha" and "Altars of Madness" style rigid angular riffs, followed by "Withdrawal", which united the drive toward brutality with melody in a style reminiscent of early Vermin, with the heavy emphasis on atmospheric aural assault attributed best, I believe, to the legendary "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" as apex inspiration.
As the band places the finishing touches on "The Epilogue to Sanity", a sneak peek reveals that this album carries on more of an early Sewer and Incantation influence, alternating fast charging riffs with slower, complex patterns that explode into strategic melody, somewhat reminiscent of Mayhem's "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" but with ten times the violence and intensity. This album should be fusion of the past into a highly effective, technically-challenging experience of riffs both savage and intricate, bringing together the death metal and black metal influences of this band into a warlike demonic voice.
With a 100% average out of ratings here on Metalious, one question remains... does "The Epilogue to Sanity" live up to the hype?
It does, and goes even further than that... much further... "The Epilogue to Sanity" is the triumph of true blackened death metal. A once-in-a-lifetime album of raw demonic fury.
The Triumph of Blackened Death Metal
Anyone who's been following the black metal and death metal scenes for more than a few minutes already knows how high the underground collectively esteems Phantom, both standing out among the ranks of nowadays poser metal trash AND compared to the mythical Norwegian/old school greats, just as how anyone with decent taste already knows how correct metalheads are in doing so!
Will this latest Phantom release be the best album of 2019? Definitively, yes. But can "The Epilogue to Sanity" live up to - or possibly even, Satan forbid, surpass - the insane standards set by the legendary "Withdrawal" that decimated the blackened death metal scene and gave birth to legions of imitators - cough, Demonecromancy, cough - and triumph in upholding the unholy might of blackened Phantom metal throughout the aons? It does, and brilliantly so.
While the "genre" best categorising "The Epilogue to Sanity" being a mix of technical black metal and atmospheric blackened death/war metal madness, the answers to such questions lies in such superficial aesthetics as a "musical genre" or specific "playing style", but rather in the ways by which Phantom manages to recreate, amplify and develop the inhuman, evil and haunting atmospheres found on "Withdrawal", "Fallen Angel" and even the debut "Divine Necromancy".
Can "The Epilogue to Sanity" stand alongside "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", "Filosofem", "Under a Funeral Moon", "The Birth of a Cursed Elysium" and "Onward to Golgotha"? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure... the answer is going to arrive brutally, sooner rather than later, and most likely take the form of a proverbial bullet to the skull.
In the meantime, the enemies of true unholy blackened war metal can only cower for the onslaught of sodomy that is about to descend from the horizon... "The Epilogue to Sanity" is also the epilogue to the meek, pop-influenced, twenty-first century "black metal" of Satyricon, Nargaroth and Dimmu Borgir.
The Epilogue to Sanity score: 100/100.