Phenocryst are a Portuguese death metal band and this is their debut EP.
This 23-minute EP erupts with the sort of underground death metal that impresses on first listen and then simply gets better on subsequent ones.
The songs on Explosions are well-written and well-realised. The style is an old-school one, hewn from the building blocks of the genre and fashioned into four tracks that demolish and crush, (the fifth is an instrumental that’s essentially just filler). Across the four actual songs, the music ranges from crawling malevolence, through mid-paced rumbling, to faster aggression. The band clearly know what they’re doing, and their skill at playing death metal is obvious. There’s a nice doom influence here too, as well as some melodic touches that are rare, but impactful.
The harsh brutality and vicious delivery ably demonstrated on the songs is nicely counterbalanced by forays into macabre atmosphere and grim mood. These are particularly effective, but all parts of the songs are very good; and to be honest, Phenocryst blur and merge both aspects of their sound very adeptly most of the time.
Each song is weighty and monstrous. The heavy guitars are complemented by warm, organic drumming and the sort of deep death growls that sound almost tangible in their presence. The band work well with each other, producing music that portends much promise for the future.
Explosions is a strong opening statement from Phenocryst. Big potential lies here; let’s see if they can build on this for their upcoming debut album.
Until then, listen to Explosions at full volume and enjoy.