The Feast of Famine: A Review of Phobocosm’s Bringer of Drought


Despite what the name of Phobocosm’s sophomore album may tell you, there is no shortage of fantastic bands playing cavernous, dissonant death metal. So what does this young Canadian quartet do differently to quench your thirst and starve out the competition in a war of sonic attrition? Bringer of Drought’s solution is to double down on the oppressive atmosphere while somehow increasing the accessibility from the band’s brilliant debut Deprived. The end result is a confounding effort in titanic, elemental death metal that manages to distance itself from the competition.

Deprived, Phobocosm’s 47-minute introduction, was a stunning exercise in extremity. The riffs were downtuned, buzzing, and malevolent, compounding on each other to continually batter you down without any hope for reprieve. The album’s length, though nowhere near excessive, often felt like an endurance test after wave after wave of blast beats and bludgeoning chords. That album caught the attention of many listeners, drawing comparisons to other dissonant, cavernous bands like Mitochondrion and Ulcerate, but in the endless barrage of Incantation-meets-Gorguts riffs, it was easy to lose yourself and wonder where the band was going.

To address this possible shortcoming, the band appears to have made a conscious effort to pull off seemingly contrasting goals on Bringer of Drought. Phobocosm’s second release surprisingly manages to sound more immediate and more varied. Both goals are achieved through sharper songwriting and an increased clarity in musicianship.

The first objective, the increase in accessibility, was accomplished by trimming the fat of Deprived‘s run-time. Bringer of Drought clocks in at a mere 34 minutes across half the number of tracks of the debut album. The band smartly uses this more limited space to pack in more focused details. There are less walls of unending blasts to get lost in and more time signature changes and alterations in riff and pace and even feel to guide you through the many corners of the band’s unique sonic maze. Each instrument really has to shine in order to hook you over the shorter length, and each musician certainly stepped up to that task. Of particular note is vocalist/bassist E.B.’s rhythm work here; the bass lines stand out prominently on opener “Engulfing Dust,” lending the album a much beefier, more satisfying texture of heaviness than that found on Deprived.

The pronounced bass is just one of the many elements the band uses on Bringer of Drought to increase the variety, and therefore listen-ability, of the album compared to its predecessor. Although the band plays a consistently oppressive style of death metal more dependent on feeling and weight than headbangability, they change up riffs, rhythm, and tone just enough to achieve a unity of sound rather than a uniformity. The aforementioned “Engulfing Dust” and album closer “Fallen” are slower, more plodding tracks with caveman drums and lots of negative space wherein the reverberating, almost vertigo-inducing lead lines can create a sense of desperation. Third track “Ordeal” also taps into that feeling of hopelessness, but it does so with a much faster, more aggressive drum rhythm that drags you along in a stampede of double bass and fills toward an uncertain end. The remaining track, “Tidal Scourge,” maintains this uniformity with a bass groove that plumbs the depths of the ocean with its crunchy, anchor-heavy percussive attack that leaves you gasping for air and solace.


All in all, the band has achieved a momentously heavy and, honestly, depressing release that I find myself revisiting again and again largely because of the way it improves on everything the band did on its predecessor. The intent to separate itself from its forebear is also the source of its only true downfall. In seeking to be slightly more accessible, the band loses some of the downright nastiness and aggression that makes bands like Antediluvian so unique and horrifying. In seeking to be more multifaceted, the band loses a bit of the focus on killer, oddball riffs that make groups like Gorguts and Chthe’ilist so special. As it stands, Phobocosm now fill the gap somewhere between the two camps, and although distant from the others, feel a little less distinct because of it.

However, Bringer of Drought is a good, maybe even great album that demonstrates this band has the potential to keep evolving. Now that they’re learned to cut their focus into a specific, harrowing vision, I truly look forward to what to they accomplish on the next album. For now, I can simply assure you that despite the title, this band’s well of ideas has not run dry, and for this I award Bringer of Drought:

4 out ov5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


You can and should stream Bringer of Drought in full right here on Bandcamp. If you like what you hear, you can order the album from Dark Descent here. Be sure to stop by Facebook too and tell Phobocosm the Toilet said, “I’m thirsty.”

(Photos VIA)

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  • Lacertilian

    Stellar review Dubs.
    I think I prefer this album to Cthe’silliest, it falls right into the goldilocks zone of habitable planets in this lizard’s mental cosm. I love hearing the “fret-talk” on some of those shifting riffs, you know the ones that sound like inter-dimensional rifts forming in your vacinity?
    Nevermind, that was just in my wallet.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      5 days? Take a hike time traveler!

      • He is the biggest cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater I have ever seen.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          You may like this. ESP is selling a guitar based on George Lynch’s famed Sunburst Tiger guitar.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            ESP guitars <<<<<<<<<<<

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            They’re not good? I wanted this too.

          • Dave Vincent’s Perm

            Well they’re fine, they’re adequate, there’s just something I really don’t like about them. Could just be that bloody everyone is using them.

          • I prefer EPS files.

          • I actually owned a real one for a period of time! Not sure I would get another one, especially a 200 series one. Man it is a pretty design though!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Lucky. I wish I had one.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      You can time travel? Can you see my future too?

    • Sploopy Thunderplop

      BTW, hit me up at Deleting this comment in a few, but wanted to tell ya something.

  • “Less walls of unending blasts to get lost in and more time signature changes”

    Well that’s some disappointing news for a blast fiend like me. I’ll still be giving this a chance though. Too much, TOO MUCH SHIT TO LISTEN TOO!!!

  • Stockhausen

    This album is a very good, I agree with all points of the review. Their debut had an excellent sound and feel, but it was easy to get lost in. The anchor points and variety of the new album go a long way.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    I’m going to spend some quality time this afternoon with this one

    • Dubs

      I’m quite enjoying all of the cavernous metal we’re getting this year.

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        I have reason to believe that it’s only going to get better with a much anticipated release from an OGDM heavy hitter.

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        Yeah this is quality. Like zhrine, chth’ilist almost..what else this year? I’m calling it cave-core and I like it

        • Dubs

          I figured you would based on Zhrine. There’s another one getting released sometime soon by a band called Setentia.

  • Sploopy Thunderplop

    Kickass review, Dubs. Loving the slow burn of the ‘Bringer Of Drought’ track (skipped over the first one, though, since it sounded like there was a bit of popping and hissing under the actual music)! And loving that thick as fuck bass at the 5:40 mark.

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    Bit of a slow start with the first track, but the second track sure does bring in the death. Lots of dark caves lately with this, Altarage, Cthe’ilist, and still jamming Abyssal from last year. Now here’s hoping Grave Miasma is up on Spotify soon…

  • brokensnow

    Pretty good. The length makes me sleepy though. I need less menace more violence personally. Keep on rockin.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Awesome review, dubs. I can get on board with this.

  • After this review I’m convinced I need to give this another chance.

    • Dubs

      Danke. I was trying to write a much more straightforward review than I usually do.

  • Waynecro

    Really nice review, W. Thanks!

    • Dubs

      No, thank you, “Wayne.”

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        I think it’s supposed to Way Necro, not Wayne Cro.

        • Waynecro

          My intention was indeed Way Necro (because it sounds metal as shit, and my pancreas was way necrotic at one point). I didn’t even see the Wayne in there until people pointed it out. I’m totally using Wayne Cro as my nom de plume if I write a book, though.

          • what about when you become president

          • Waynecro

            I probably have to use my actual name in that capacity. You know, for legal reasons and stuff.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Nope, you’ll have to change it officially to WAYNECRO, caps and everything. To strike fear in the hearts of your enemies.

          • Waynecro

            I can’t argue with that logic. See, that’s why you’ve more than earned a spot in my cabinet.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            *excitement level reaching max capacity

        • You know nothing, Bear Snow.

      • Waynecro

        I like to listen to this kind of metal when I’m working, because I’ve already got one foot in the realm of cavernous, hopeless desperation when I’m editing documents that would get an F in a third-grade English class.

  • tertius_decimus

    Can’t hear drums.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    that was short.

    • Dubs

      34 minutes.

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        wish some of these releases that have gotten my attention would be a little longer

  • From what I’m hearing, the bass pops more in the front and you’re right about it, Doctorr. Also, the song structures have a more progressive attitude paired with the cavernous production and style (Colin Marston is a beast behind the controls!!).

    I don’t think I would jam this often. Compared with C’thilleist, following Time Travelling Lizard’s attempt, I prefer the Majora’s degenerates for their melodic approach. Overall, I think I get why some people would enjoy Phobocosm much more than C’thileIWon’tWriteTheirNameAgain.

    Great great job in this review! I enjoyed!