Phlegethon - Drifting into the Crypt
Xtreem Music
Death metal
Disc 1: 13 songs (01:11:04) Disc 2: 13 songs (01:05:16)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Xtreem Music
Reviewed by Charles
Seems to be retro Finnish death metal week for me at the moment, but instead of the new evoking the old in the form of Winterwolf, here we have the real deal. Drifting into the Crypt features everything they recorded- no albums, just a stack of EPs and demos- and as such is an epic collection, which is quite intimidating to the uninitiated (in which I would include myself). Ploughing through these two discs is like digging at a rushed plague burial ground with your bare hands, after every few clumps uncovering a pleasingly rotten slab of meaty flesh.

The sound is fuzzily unreconstructed, with Lasse Pyykko’s vocals a ghastly hiss, faded low in the mix much of the time. Guitars have a rotting quality, a bit like a punkier Obituary. The songwriting is really creative. Dissonant lead guitar flourishes squeal away over doomy introductions that frequently accelerate into a rattlingly lo-fi death metal assault, like a walking corpse that has suddenly found the gumption to run at the risk of snapping its ankles. As you trace the band’s progressions throughout their obscure career, all sorts of weirdness emerges- strange, the proggy daydreams that they dabble with from time to time really does give their whole ouvre, when lined up like this, a feel that goes beyond quirky and into the realms of the truly otherworldly. Special mention in this sense must be Without Tea Waters- a bizarre techno/death metal fusion that glistens luridly within this earthy collection. Then as you get further in some real unexpected gems start cropping up- particularly when the tunes from an unnamed 1995 promo are arrived at. Karma Vest is an incredible, swinging stoner number, that sounds wonderfully incongruous in this context. Teaser’s Whine also has the feel of early Cathedral.

This is a deeply enjoyable journey through a distinctive and original extreme metal band’s career. Beautifully low-budget whilst simultaneously refreshingly unpurist. For those that have missed Phlegethon’s output to date, your ears need this.

Killing Songs :
Karma Vest, Without Tea Waters... depends what you feel like.
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