Album Review: Phlebotomized - Clouds of Confusion
Reviewed by Patick O'Reilly
Cult Death metallers Phlebotomized caused a stir in the death metal scene when they released their demo ‘Devoted to God’ in 1992. A full length album followed in 1994 titled ‘Immense, Intense, Suspense’ further bringing them into the limelight and singling them out as an upcoming force in the extreme music scene. What caused this shock and awe? Well, it was the different approach to the genre that the band brought, they didn’t rely on pure brutality but on atmosphere and style. They used synths and violins combined with clean and otherworldly vocals to create something different from the norm and were appreciated for doing so.
Following the release of their second album ‘Skycontact’ in 1997 they disbanded before returning with new material in 2019 and 2020. Now they have a new album and are about to unleash it upon the world.
Phlebotomized have honed their sound and production. It sounds a lot cleaner and well recorded, and this really shines through on this release. Musically they retain their sound with the synths heavily involved in the foreground guiding and leading the songs on. I think the vocals have become softer compared to their early material, but they still retain some brutality, this is also true of the riffs as well.
These are dense sonic journeys that although based in death metal invade the worlds of folk and prog too. They are gratifying on an immediate level, but it is upon multiple listens that they truly shine and the beauty of the music really makes it self-apparent. It is an oxymoronic album in many ways, being both old school and modern sounding, brutal yet clean and beautiful and it is this juxtaposition that appeals to me and hopefully you too.