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DEMO/EP ROUNDUP - Phobophilic and Malleus

It's time to delve once more into demo/single/EP/mini-albums to try to find the next "big thing".

North Dakota's Phobophilic attack the senses first with their sophomore demo Undimensioned Identities. Proudly and unquestionably old school death metal, the four-piece mix uptempo and slower sections, riffs twisting and twisted as is expected for the sub-genre. The odd Slayer influence creeps in intermittently (nothing wrong with that!), while the drum performance proves to be a highlight, some good rolls and cymbal work adding to the overall bludgeoning effect. The uber-guttural, incoherent vocals are also par for the course for death metal, but personally I would have preferred a Martin Van Drunen style delivery at the mic instead. Just my preference though, as others will likely be more than satisfied with the zombie mumbling going on here. A satisfying deathly assault. (7)

StartFragmentThe sound of a village being sacked greets listeners on Malleus' sophomore two-track EP Night Raids, before exploding into a first wave black metal track that evokes memories of Bathory's self-titled debut blight. The elongated track (over eight minutes) switches to a chugging mid-section rhythmic workout, before taking off into a speed-metalled guitar solo that ultimately gives way to a return to the original blackened riff conclusion. Good vicious stuff. Track two, another eight-minute plus opus, starts out slow and ominous leading to a riff akin to Diamond Head's "Am I Evil?" with a strangled vocal once again reminding one of the sadly re-deceased Quorthon. Come mid-section, the track devolves back to its original crawling premise, rounded out by the repetition of the main riff with subtle bass and drum interplay. Not quite as good as the first track, but still a fine little stomper of a song. (Note: This is a remastered version of the release originally issued in 2018.) (7)EndFragment

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