There’s a caveat that exists for those wishing to cherry-pick a particular release from the Metal Injection Master List of Records Waiting to be Reviewed to write about. It’s specifically laid out in the Review Guides Constitution—or at least it was at some point—that it's recommended we hacks should have some amount of knowledge of the band we’ve selected to place on the chopping block. This, in order to be able to add colour, context, history, padding or whatever you want to call it, to make our critical prose more interesting than the simple laying out of dry facts.
So, what did I know about Phobophilic before I raised my hand in order to pass judgment on their latest release? Virtually nothing. In the interest of full disclosure, I gravitated towards this band because I initially assumed they might have some connection with "Phobophobia," a song off of one of the greatest albums in the history of forever, Vio-lence’s Eternal Nightmare. The thought process was that even if they were loosely associating themselves with a full-stop classic track from a full-stop classic album, then maybe some hard-hitting, quirky and potentially classic thrash was in my listening future. That there wasn’t says way more about my faltering comprehension skill and trigger-happy hopefulness than anything else. But, here we are.
With the world of old-school death metal being flooding with a million-and-a-half bands, it’s easy to assume you’re not missing out on anything with relevance or value by passing on yet another bunch of whippersnappers paying homage to an age-old art form. Phobophilic makes a distinct move in the tightening up of their sound and contracting the amount of windswept chaos and sonic necrosis that too many of their contemporaries hide behind in the name of old-school worship. They’re an outfit to keep an eye on, even if you’re like me and would still rather listen to Eternal Nightmare.