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Phantoms of Our Ruin - 65%

Spatupon, June 8th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent

Nightmare A.D is probably amongst one of the best Cambodian melodic death/thrash metal out there. In reality, that doesn't mean much, since there are only a handful of Cambodian metal bands, let alone thrash/death ones. Nightmare A.D plays a very solid brand of melodic death metal inspired by bands such as Norther and Kalmah. This extended play contains a total of 6 different tracks and lasts a little bit longer than twenty-two minutes.

Although most ideas on this album aren't particularly unique or extraordinary, they sound inspired and full of life. The excellent production works wonders in beefing up the audial factor of all the instruments in general. One thing which you will notice when the second song, entitled "Death Trip" hits, is the corny sound of the keyboard. Honestly, the second song takes things to a completely different trajectory, inserting several folk/viking metal inspired ideas that were not present on the first song. If you manage to overcome the awkward sound of the keyboards, this extended play takes a whole new life and appeal of its own. Most other songs on this extended play carry forth in the same style described before, although later on some minimal influences from contemporary metal make their presence felt.

Another thing which I found rather annoying is the vocals. To be honest, the vocalist would do quite well to work on his high screams, because they sound extremely forced sometimes. Unfortunately, the fact that the vocals are sometimes mixed extremely high, sometimes most of the instruments can become overpowered by the vocals. In terms of musicianship, this band has got the formula down to semi-perfection. To be fair, this style of extreme metal has almost lost all of its luster throughout the last decade or so, since so many bands seem to simply feed off one another, rather than evolving upon previously laid foundations. The drums and the bass can be heard perfectly most of the time and that is quite remarkable, considering these two instruments are usually very difficult to properly mix and produce. At times, the sound of the snare can feel a little but too clicky and artificial, but that is not such a big problem to render listening a chore.

Overall, "Phantoms of Our Ruin" is quite a consistent little extended play from an obscure country that rarely ever gets mentioned when it comes to heavy metal. Even though a lot of ideas on this release seem a little bit recycled, as previously explained, they still contain a very unique charm of their own. If you're looking for some new extreme metal from far-off lands, look no further than Nightmare A.D's "Phantom of Our Ruin".