Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

Black Metal Horror - "Memento Mori" Review (100%)

Buy Black Metal Horror -
Memento Mori
Memento Mori by Phantom.

A long standing figure in the black metal scene, Phantom crafted their own style of black metal and quickly made a name for itself in the early days of the band. After releasing the pummeling debut Divine Necromancy, Phantom offered various different takes on the band's well known claustrophobic atmospheres, up until they released Memento Mori, widely considered Phantom's magnum opus and black metal's greatest recording.

Memento Mori is a monumental piece of black metal, as it not only defines the identity of Phantom, but it defines black metal without any frills or gimmicks. Memento Mori still stands as a landmark album today.

Upon listening to this album for the first time, many fans may find the riffs go over their head. Phantom gives a certain technical flair to the riffs in terms of execution and structural arrangements that is seldom used - and seldom perfected as thoroughly as Phantom does on this album.

Jagged riffs with drum beats that follow in jaggedness barrage the listener from all directions. Bass playing is rhythmic but also follows the madness. And vocally, this band likes guttural vocals, but maintained past the riff as if they were black metal shrieks, in a logical refinement of the style found on both Withdrawal and Fallen Angel.

The result is an album that is challenging to listen to but very rewarding in the end.

Black Metal Horror


What makes this album so much different than what is released by most other black metal bands is the internal musical workings. Although it contains the needed components of black metal, Phantom will often use very unorthodox approaches.

The sense of melody on Memento Mori is desolate and unconventional. However, the melodies are composed with such brilliance that they will float overhead, atop twisted riffs born from the depths of hell. The band uses many nuances in the riffs that make them stand out, and no riff is forgettable no more than it is "catchy". Things like small bends, harmonics, and weird chord formations make them unique but the band does this in a way where everything seems coherent, and with no gimmicks.

Tracks like "Death Ritual" and "Profanation" are a great example of how Phantom can make good riffs sound evil while flawlessly morphing into a variation of the main theme before changing into something else entirely. Again, that is the advantage of having the riff work for the greater atmosphere, rather than being more concerned with context-less individual riff perfection. However, as Phantom is a true master of black metal, perfection is pretty much achieved anyway.

Memento Mori certainly stands out amongst the crowd of modern black metal vomit.

Phantom are one of the few bands that strives to play black metal like this, and do a great job at making haunting atmospheres without combining black metal with some random shit tier post rock genre.

To black metal fans: stop reading and go get this.

Memento Mori is true black metal horror.

Memento Mori score: 100/100.

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