Denmark’s Phrenelith plays death metal with low-tuned dirge-like riffs and vocals to match. Chimaera is the band’s second album since forming in 2013 and their best effort yet.
Phrenelith has been prolific in their short time as a band, releasing many demos and a couple of EPs before and after their debut full-length, 2017s Desolate Endscape, honing their songwriting along the way. Chimaera has similar sounding production to that album, mixed and mastered by Greg Wilkinson, dark and murky but with enough clarity making it easily digestible. The drums have a great natural sound while the bass audibly rumbles underneath the grimy guitar tone. Album opener Awakening Titans set’s the tone immediately with creepy clean guitars before quickly building to a combination of hammer-like swing and faster sections. The low growl of the cavernous sounding vocals brings to mind classic Incantation, as do some of the transitions in the song, while the clean guitars which also return in the outro of the song maintain a horror movie-like atmosphere. Chimaerian Offspring – Part I is next, and this song rips. One of the faster tracks on the album, the riffs are kept straightforward and repetitive while the drumming keeps it all very engaging, alternating between fast beats and some serious swing.
Throughout the seven songs, the drums remain a highlight. Augmenting guitar riffs and dynamic changes in the songs. There are also brief moments of Autopsy-like doom and more clean guitars that build tension and release throughout the rest of the tracks. Guitar leads are short but effective, wisely showcasing melody over flash. The 32-minute runtime makes it an easy listen, and the pacing keeps it all together. Beautiful artwork by the late/great Timo Ketola adorns the album cover and manages to capture the vibe of this album perfectly.
Phrenelith is not doing anything wholly original on Chimaera, but the way they work together to execute the material makes this album stand out. Add the excellent production, and you have one of the better death metal records of 2021.
Pre-order Chimaera by Phrenelith HERE
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