The four-way 'Dissociated Human Junction', which featured a handful of untitled tracks from French legends Blut aus Nord and a seemingly random smattering of contributions from three nobodies, is telling of what can be expected from the majority of splits. Occasionally, a band makes things interesting, as was the case with Satanic Warmaster/Clandestine Blaze, where the first four tracks were an actual collaboration. Chances are you’re reading this because of Blut aus Nord. And while their contribution might just be some of their strongest material to date (no shit), on 'Triunity' P.H.O.B.O.S. prove themself an exception to the rule.
A sudden switch to acoustic percussion marks an almost ten-years-in-the-making departure from the drum machine. Long gone are the pseudo-industrial rumblings that made 'The Work Which Transforms God' a genre staple, replaced by one Gionata “Thorns” Potenti (Acherontas, Frostmoon Eclipse, and a plethora of other bands – just look at this list!). Real drums bring a welcome dynamic to 'Triunity' that has evaded previous material. It’s organic, and the unity between all the instruments is hard to ignore.
For all the instrumental nuances of a band like Blut aus Nord, and the manifold masks and styles they have wrought into their catalogue, 'Triunity' raises the bar, again. It’s all there: the soaring melodies of 'Memoria Vetusta II', the atonal hypnotism of 'Odinist', the relentless aggression of the 'Liber' series, and the unpredictable leads of the '777' trilogy. In just 19 minutes, Blut aus Nord unify a near decade of output with devastating precision. The breadth of expression is inspiring in its scope.
On the other side of the cosmos, P.H.O.B.O.S. hammers away like a mechanised juggernaut in some distant, starless void. It’s dissonant and sparse. The erratic crawl of drums is anchored only by onerous bass grooves and cold, inorganic synthesizers. P.H.O.B.O.S.’s contribution conjures Alien-inspired voids, and the desperate throes of an abandoned, Nostromo-like spacecraft, soaring on solar winds.
The real highlight here is the closing track, ‘Ahrimanic Impulse Victory’, which transforms P.H.O.B.O.S.’s industrial machinations into an unpredictable flurry of lead guitars and a last-ditch effort to ascend the void. With an unexpected twist that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Blut Aus Nord release, this one-man act manages to claim some of the attention for himself. While Blut aus Nord’s material is among their absolute best, P.H.O.B.O.S. prove that this one man band is more than a ripple riding on a better-known band’s wave. Grab it from Debemur Morti.
- Alex Sutcliffe, june 2014