Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Icon of Phobos - "Icon of Phobos" (2011) [Baneful Genesis Records]

Los Angeles is no stranger to a good metal scene – partly due to the fact that most of the great tours in the US tend to stop by, and also that there are just some damn good bands there as well. Conversely, there are also a lot of run of the mill, or just plain, shitty bands (I think some of the worst locals I have ever heard were in LA). Having to wait through local openers at an LA show can really, really vary, in just about any genre, for that matter. Los Angeles is, without a doubt, saturated with generic black metal as well, but there are bands who manage to break through this, both with their releases, and with their live performances.

So, say hello to Icon of Phobos, who released their self titled album in mid November of last year. The band features a variety of musicians who have been invested in the scene for quite some time, including some bands who have had some great releases -  Pendulous (previously Dona Eis Requiem), Spiculum Iratus,  and Bestial Incarnation.

Following some hellish gurgle sounding as if from the maw of satan,  the opening track breaks into a mid paced black metal assault, accompanied by thunderous drums, and some damn excellent vocals as well – very reminiscent of Funeral Mist, both in terms of Arioch’s style, and as well as the music as a whole.
Production wise, the music has a good balance, not going for anything too raw, yet not for anything overly polished, and a good mix of all pieces of the music are present in the album.

While Icon of Phobos doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, they play an orthodox style of black metal that is good in doses, and if you can find a live video of them, great in a live setting. If I were to listen to this album without any knowledge of the band, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they were from Sweden or Finland – in fact, I’d be more surprised at learning that not only are they from here in the US, but from Los Angeles.

If you want a dose of orthodox black metal, check this out, and if you find yourself in sunny southern California, make sure to see if they’re playing live for one hell of a crushing performance.


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