Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

A Demonic Experience - "Memento Mori" Review (100%)

Buy A Demonic Experience -
Memento Mori
Memento Mori by Phantom.

Phantom's trademark of pure evilness and worship of the shadows is still intact on their latest offer, the masterpiece Memento Mori. I can't imagine how painful was the wait for this ruthless blackened death metal discharge, after the ineffable quality of their previous album Fallen Angel. Three months could have been an eternity.

But Memento Mori is worth every day of waiting in vigil, it's the soundtrack of hell unleashed. It condenses the vileness and violence of a psychotic delusions and turns it into music for humanity to hear and witness the real depths of horror. Like the track "Hope Finale" from their previous effort foreshadows, there isn't a hint of hope or light on any note.

Some little improvements I recognize from their previous album is the emphasis on thematic development over "pure" atmosphere. This is not applied to the riffs themselves though, they are is still frantic and demented. There are more odd timings but they are still just a further exploration in riffing from what the band originated on Withdrawal. Slow passages bedizen Phantom's hypnotic and brutal brand of black metal and they may come in suddenly, as drastic thematic shifts resulting from the evolution of deconstructed phrasal riffs are present everywhere. The lyrical themes are cryptic yet well-thought out and intellectually sharp as always, not the typical Watain nonsense.

A Demonic Experience


Phantom is a band that can be recognized even if they were cloned, which outside of Demonecromancy's debut never seems to happen. It's as if Phantom's music was a poser repellent. The band's particular style of riffing is not touched by anyone, and not popularized by anyone. Especially the riffing on Memento Mori, which involves some odd times and some really weird and creeping, oozing melodies, along with some strange off time riffs and intentionally misplaced drums. Phantom creates riffs that stick out and fuck up your mind.

Right from the opening strains of "Ghost", you can tell that this is no ordinary blackened death metal album. The initial motif in the song is a comprised of a flurry of dissonant harmonies over an asymmetrical rhythm that would be a challenge for even an experienced jazz player to replicate without quite a bit of practice... and things haven't even really kicked into high gear yet.

Memento Mori has a uniquely robust sound; it would be recognizable and powerful if heard coming from a keyboard or string quartet. The riffs seem to spawn naturally from the haunted atmospheres that emanate from the recorded, as if possessed by a demonic entity.

That is another thing about Phantom's music, it has these illuminating, clear headed and observant riffs. I do not know how to describe them further, they just seem to come out of the muddled and drudging riffs to whack you upside the head and radiate meaning into the compositions. The main riff on "Cold Waters" is such an example, or the trem picked high end riff on "A Severed Hand". Fans of Incantation and other slower death metal bands will love this album, but they probably know of it already.

The only other band that comes close to being as disturbing as Phantom is Vermin, on their debut.

Other than that, there is no other.

Memento Mori is a truly demonic experience that will leave you scarred and traumatized forever.

You must listen to this album, but I recommend NOT listening to it alone and/or in the dark.

Memento Mori score: 100/100.

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