PHOBOPHILIC "Enveloping Absurdity" LP (Prosthetic Records 2022)
Black Vinyl with Silver Splatter.
Following their recent signing to Prosthetic Records, PHOBOPHILIC are set to release their debut album, titled Enveloping Absurdity, on September 16 via the Los Angeles heavy metal label. The Fargo, North Dakota based death metal group’s first full-length sees the four-piece ruminate on philosophical absurdism, existentialism and human consciousness against a backdrop of suffocatingly minacious death metal.
Since their 2016 formation PHOBOPHLIC have steadily accumulated early releases in the shape of two demos, 2019’s Undimensioned Identities EP and a split release with Canada’s Sedimentum, all the while honing their craft out across the North American touring circuit - featuring live stints with Gatecreeper and Mutilatred respectively, as well as appearances at LDB Fest and Philadelphia Death Nexus - positioning themselves among US death metals most intriguing young acts.
Following their early productivity both in studio and on the road, PHOBOPHILIC pulled together to shape Enveloping Absurdity’s eight songs into existence. Shunning the fantastical in favour of lived human reality, the band - composed of Aaron Dudgeon (guitars and vocals), Josh Poer (guitars), Christian Alm (bass) and Vincent Tweten (drums) - opted to center their gaze on what it is to exist. Drawing from French writers Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre as well as Germany’s Fredrich Nietzche’s strains of philosophical thought, Enveloping Absurdity is a meticulous vivisection of the philosophical self and purpose, as it asks fundamental questions of life’s true meaning.
Across Enveloping Absurdity’s runtime PHOBOPHILIC’s quest for elucidation is explored in punishingly heavy fashion across tracks such as Those Which Stare Back, Nauseating Despairand Survive in Obscurity. But for all of the Midwestern group’s old school death metal artisanship and lyrical angst, there is a fundamental rejection of misplaced nihilism in the form of quieter and reflective passages throughout. No better is this showcased than mid-album track Individuation’s calm before the storm, which offers up Enveloping Absurdity’s most contemplative moment.
PHOBOPHILIC’s formative promise is fully captured with a stellar production job that retains their to-the-bone intensity, but allows room for the underlying grandiosity of their compositions, thanks to Adam Tucker at Signaturetone Recording in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The artwork was then licensed from Finnish illustrator Joonas Räsänen at EvM Art, as the band sought to marry Enveloping Absurdity’s overarching thematic ponderance with aesthetic totality.
On their debut long player PHOBOPHILIC rebel against notions of defeat and pessimism, in spite of the struggles that come with an overabundance of consciousness, to a profound embrace of that which ails as well as thrills. At the beating heart of Enveloping Absurdity’s sonic extremity is a victory of the self, not content with simply surviving, but choosing to live.