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Algophobia > Algophobia > Reviews
Algophobia - Algophobia

Painkiller with no Expiration Date - 86%

bayern, May 19th, 2017

This act started their ascension at the same time as Sadist both acts honing their weapons with some really good progressive/technical thrash on their early demos. Algophobia were the more proficient outfit their “Dreams” demo containing stylish technical music quite reminiscent of Coroner. One year later the style had already moved towards more aggressive deathy sounds still preserving the technicality. The band had to pull themselves together in order to catch up with their Sadistic compatriots who already had three full-lengths by the end of 1997…

And they did, albeit partially, with the album reviewed here. What can be noticed from the first notes of the opening “Darkness” is the increased amount of melody and the more smooth riff flow which was quite hectic, to these ears for the better, on the demos. The melodic undercurrents create a stark contrast at times with the harsh witch-like vocals which are omnipresent, and occupy quite a bit of space. Speedy escapades haven’t been provided abundantly which in its turn gives the guys an opportunity to experiment with more flexible elements, like the quiet balladic interludes on “Lord of My Lost Dream” this number also containing a few pretty wild passages as though to ensure some kind of compensation for the meeker additives; those speedy moments come with a strong thrashy flair that brings the sound back to the first demo. “Hate” delves deeper into the ballad, nothing “hateful” here, before some bizarre acrobatic shredding begins literally out of nowhere the surreally hissing on the side vocals creating totally outlandish atmosphere; the guitars become more technical with time reaching a peak towards the middle logically replaced afterwards by a stroke of dazzling leads and another slab of unexpected hectic, atonal surreality. An absolutely brilliant, eccentric piece of music which brings Carcass’ “Necroticism…”, Atheist’s “Unquestionable Presence”, and by all means something else to mind that wasn’t created at the time.

The expectations after such an unforgettable showdown are quite high, and “Sea of Illusion” tries to deceive the listener that it would provide similar entertainment, and for a bit at the beginning the audience will sense a similar way of execution with a really eclectic rhythm-section which jumps from mid-pace to blast-beats and vice versa, but apart from this short cut the rest is more stylish progressive melo-death the melodic leads at the end a tasteful addition. “Dreams” is the vice highlight, a speedy amorphous progressiver with offbeat rhythmic leaps and bounds mid-way, and a great quieter deviation. “Eternal Hope” is a relative relaxer with linear mid-paced riffage, and “Vibrations of Peace” “vibrates” a bit more technically, but remains long on atmosphere and spacey progressive build-ups. “Christ Nails” brings back the thrash, and this is the right decision as the guys mosh with more vigour and also style with rolling guitars and several interesting virtuoso accumulations which give way to more brutal death metal-ish dashes to make this compelling rifforama even more entangled. “Mental Creation” is way more than just “a mental creation”, an aggressive deathster with wild less controlled rhythms and a few intriguing more technical insertions ala Atheist and Gorguts. “New Guide” is the encompassing progressive saga, also the closer, a labyrinthine affair with a thick reverberating sound, plenty of time and tempo changes, intense hyper-active “skirmishes”, and more bizarreness which would have matched the one on “Hate” if it wasn’t for the constantly barking vocals which deafen the original fretwork going underneath them.

A really strange recording that one has to listen carefully in order to detect all the nuances embedded. To these ears it’s uneven with one absolute peak, and a few other moments that come close. The problem is that once this peak has passed, the fan will start looking for similar signs of greatness, and may ignore some worthy moments along the way. The not very smooth transition between sharper, more technical and more elaborate progressive passages is another unmitigated flaw as though the band strove to balance between the two approaches, but the thick guitar sound definitely favoured the latter reducing the guitars’ sharpness to an extent. Why they decided to utilize it remains a mystery; the riffs used to click and clock on the demos, and wherever they weren’t heard clearly, it was because of the sloppy production. Here the thick riff miasma settles in at the very beginning, and never leaves. On the other hand, it gives the album a fairly individual aura recalling the works of the Russians Shah, the Norwegian avantgardists Ram-Zet, and Coroner’s “No More Color”.

The Italian death metal scene of the late-90’s had already filled with talented outfits like Gory Blister, Aydra, Karnak, Coram Lethe… Sadist were still around leading this colourful pack, and Algophobia could have also had a leading position with their characteristic, unique sound. Alas, they were one of the earliest sing-offs from the train that later crossed over into the new millennium to experience another revival of the classic metal laws. Were these auteurs scared that they might get hurt by the retro tsunami? Possible. Have they managed to overcome these irrational fears, though? Yeah, most likely, judging by this thick stylish miasmic cloud descending from the Apennines…

Algophobia - Algophobia - 60%

ConorFynes, December 9th, 2011

Shortly after the wave of excellent forward-thinking US death metal in the early '90s, there was an inevitable backlash of bands attempting to copycat the originals. The bands I am speaking of who innovated what we now know as the progressive death metal scene are now legends, with Atheist and Death first coming to mind. Algophobia is an Italian reaction to this Florida-based death metal scene, a strong group of musicians playing a familiar style in tribute. Their technical proficiency aside, it should not come as much of a surprise that while quality is evident in the band's performance, Algophobia's self-titled debut doesn't come across as much more than a clone of acts that frankly did it better the first time around.

Algophobia is a word that refers to the pathological fear of pain, so it seems we are in death metal territory here, alright. The band plays a slightly melodic brand of technical death metal, not as overbearing and triggered as modern tech death, but maintaining a ferocious musical proficiency to it. The influence of jazz music is implied in the groovy bass licks and frantic rhythms of the band. In this sense, Algophobia are taking a nod from Atheist, and that is the band whom these Italians seem to be emulating the most. As is entailed with the tech death style, the musicians are all fantastic, and quite tight as an act. The music is fairly unrelenting, and there is not much diversity, save for a solo or schizoid melody firing through the speakers here and there. Algophobia is playing very able death metal here, but one thing that deters from the listen is the production. I certainly prefer an organic studio job almost any day over something mechanical and triggered-sounding, but on 'Algophobia', the mix is very muddy, and this becomes quite a problem when you take into account the fact that the musicians' performances are being obscured and robbed of their details. The sound is chaotic, and while the production does take away from what could have been a better album, the band's energy and technical virtue keep them interesting.

Of course, interesting does not always mean 'original', and Algophobia certainly do not explore new grounds with this. Instead, it's as if they are trying to mirror the glory of Atheist, addressing most every detail in that band's sound. Even down to the higher pitched rasp of Luizio Dezi, everything feels like Algophobia are trying to recreate Atheist's 'Unquestionable Presence', sans the softer jazz moments. To a degree, the band does manage to pull this off, as the comparison between this and Atheist can be made within seconds of listening to the music. As one might guess, the disciples do not outdo the innovators, and despite the prowess of its musicians, Algophobia's self-titled is left sounding like an obscure grandchild of 'Unquestionable Presence'.

Unique and great - 81%

MikeyC, June 13th, 2009

After having Algophobia’s self-titled debut album for a while now, I still find it difficult to compare them to other bands. As with a lot of bands that are shrouded by obscurity, there’s a certain charm to them that most other bands out there can’t match. It certainly makes it hard to review the album in question, but let’s give it a try, anyway.

Algophobia play death metal, with a slight overlap of technicality – not close to Necrophagist standards. It’s more similar to Cannibal Corpse, where every now and again they’ll come up with something that’s not quite a regular time signature. On top of this, the whole album is glazed with thrash overtones, most recognisable by the guitar. Some of the riffs have a death/thrash quality to them, which is not detrimental. The slower opening to “Eternal Hope” has a certain thrashy quality to it, but at the same time, it’s death metal. The vocals help steer this into a virtual genre no-man’s land, too, since they could fit in thrash and death metal. Like I said, it’s hard to compare this…Yyrkoon play a death/thrash style of music themselves, but this is nothing like them. Algophobia basically carved a groove out for themselves with this.

The soloing is really good, showing off the guitarist’s skills and without delving into so-called “wankery,” which has exploded as a derogatory term in the metal scene. Most of them are melodic and don’t drag on too long, either.

The drumming is the loudest instrument on this release, mostly due to the snare drum, which is right at the forefront. For those who dislike triggered drumming, let yourself be immersed in the performance here. The triggerless drums are the biggest aspect, and give the whole album an organic feel. Every drum hit has a slight echo, which I like, and again adds to the organic tone. His whole performance here is a stand-out.

Algophobia, while I really like it, doesn’t get a lot of play time. I feel that once I’ve heard it, I’m fairly overwhelmed by it, and I can put it away for weeks and still be satisfied. There’s a lot of vocals, and they’re fairly dominant, so maybe that’s why. Still, if you can find this album somewhere, definitely pick it up. Death and thrash metal enthusiasts will definitely enjoy this.