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Killer, brutal, and assorted other good adjectives - 72%

Zodijackyl, August 6th, 2013

Swedish death metal - it's almost unfair to introduce a band with this stone of burden. It immediately conjures expectations of early Dismember and Entombed, even encourages bands who merely emulate those bands with an HM-2 and a far shot at copying those greats. That is not Phidion, that is not even how you introduce Phidion.

Phidion could, but have no need to impress with accolades. Martin Missy leads this killer assault with his piercing vocals that have only become better seasoned since his legendary run with the brutal thrash legends Protector - late-80s German peers of mighty thrashers like Kreator. Anyone into extreme thrash has already perked up, extremely excited at the mention of Protector. Missy joins with two other parts an incredible trio - including bassist Fredrik Pihlström, who has an extensive resume including fronting another variety of extreme thrash band, Talion, since the 90s. Even more vicious is Guitarist Christos - a 15-year veteran of the Swedish death metal scene who blends his Swedish roots with the heavy viciousness of some of the harsher Floridian death metallers like Malevolent Creation and the brutality of Cannibal Corpse, though he is clearly a better songwriter than anyone in CC.

Yes, I could have simply called them a Swedish death metal band, but that is neither a fair estimation of the band's skill and style, nor a fair description of a band that carries a strong flair of originality amongst a sea of downright clones and ripoffs. Phidion are concentrated and brutal, original and enjoyable in their own right, yet much more familiar than alien as a solid death metal band. They offer a combination of both smooth songwriting and abrupt changes that rip the listener from their seat, like the middle of "Anthropophagus".

They're so good that I struggle, as a writer, to put you in the seat while hearing this music. It's just over 25 minutes long, conscious of the impact of their thrashy brand of death metal - in no rush to crank out a full-length for the sake of doing so, rather using a shorter run-time to pummel your head with vicious death metal. There is quite a variety of death metal riffing, adhering to no particular subset, rather being a well-varied onslaught. It's primarily fast and a combination of death/thrash riffs as well as pure death metal riffs that bridge several styles and generation of death metal seamlessly. As I said, this band is neither a clone nor a wannabe, they have their own sound, more distinct than most, and powerful enough that I suspect that each spin of this EP crushed some lame, derivative Entombed-worship band.

This is focused. It is a very coherent effort that wastes not a second from start to finish, ending almost too quickly after six songs, not that I could ever fault a band for leaving me wanting more. This band does an excellent job of changing up tempos, adding some stop/start riffing, and simply pushing and pulling the listener throughout this whole release. It is immersive, aggressive death metal from start to finish, with the only break being variations in the riffing, from mid-paced grooves led by the mighty Missy to fast death metal, blended with some unsettling stop/start parts that are reminiscent of the hammering nature of early Cannibal Corpse.

It's really good, but a few aspects leave me wishing for more. The production is sharp and clean, but these riffs are fucking dirty! Of course, this requires a sufficient volume for the listener to be hit by the full impact of the album, but it's so vicious that it feels like it might be better fitted to an old, dirty studio sound, more fitting of a basement, a run-down venue, even a cave. It is by no means excessively polished - it could easily rip the scrawny heads and other body parts off of a leaner death metal band like Cattle Decapitation, but I just want it to feel even more of the grit of the slaying they do - something between worshipping Slayer and using their music as a means of conveying egregious violence, because unholy shit, these riffs fucking kill!

The bottom line? The mighty Martin Missy of Protector meets a perfect match for his vicious vocals and Christos rips through 25 minutes of awesome death metal riffs and it's the most refreshing and oppressing death metal coming out of Sweden in recent years. Highlights? No, listen to the whole god damn thing, as long as you have 25 minutes to be eviscerated.

Phidion - 70%

Zerberus, July 17th, 2013

Ominous aggression, menacing fury, focussed anger. These are the moods Phidion, a 5-man strong death-thrash outfit from Sweden's capital city, set on their third release, the Flesh of the Forsaken EP from 2012.

Exploring a lyrical universe of the recurring history of humanity's affinity for warfare and other fitting topics the Swedish band has a barbaric way of delivering mid-paced death metal with a few thrash riffs here and there to spice things up. Flesh of the Forsaken gives the impression that Phidion are a band of well-versed songwriters, and as such there's no time wasted on lackluster melodies or bland gimmicks. The Flesh of the Forsaken EP is heavy when it needs to be, and fast when the flow demands it.

Though the songs are generally well written and easy to follow, the same cannot be said about the guitar riffs. They work well with this kind of no-bullshit thrash-infused death metal, and helped along by some surprisingly interesting bass lines the riffs provides a fine platform for a good EP, but it's missing that extra something. The riffs are generally bordering on banality, but they're played with enough fervor and precision to provide a sort of quality. I'm tempted to say that the same goes for the drums, without going into too much detail.

In closing it can safely be said that Phidion have procured an ample set of songs for an EP that doesn't leave much to be wanted, but at the same time has room for improvement. The band's skills in songwriting and flow definitely work to their advantage, and that ever so familiar tinge of Sweden's rich metal history is also highly present on Flesh of the Forsaken. The great bass-work is a great bonus as well.

Originally posted on http://gouls-crypt.blogspot.com/

Phidion - Flesh of the Forsaken - 84%

Spiner202, July 3rd, 2013

Hailing from one of the death metal capitals of the world, Sweden, Phidion are a band that are very transparent about their influences. Fans of Entombed, Carnage, Dismember, and all of the other classic old-school Swedish death metal bands will love “Flesh of the Forsaken”, as it is one of the most authentic sounding releases of recent years. This EP is six tracks of heavy, bludgeoning metal that will bring you back to 1990.

From the moment “Warzone” begins, you’ll hear what I suspect is the famed HM-02 distortion pedal. If Phidion aren’t using that pedal, then they have done a fantastic job of replicating that guitar sound. As you might expect, the riffs also capture that old-school sound. The drums are fairly mechanical sounding (particularly the snare), but that is the only weak point of the EP. Vocally, there is more variation than other records in this style. In addition to the standard death growl, this singer also makes use of a higher raspy scream that sounds not too far away from Corpsegrinder’s screams. The songwriting is very consistent, and sounds pretty much exactly like Entombed did on “Left Hand Path”. The only major difference is that some riffs have more of a thrash feel than a death metal one. “Slaves to Eternal Insomnia” is the thrashiest track, but you’ll notice quite quickly that the band only uses this as a short break from the tremolo picking and blast beats that frequent “Flesh of the Forsaken”. This EP isn’t all speed though. Phidion makes frequent use of those slow, grooving sections that Autopsy pioneered and later became the standard in Swedish death metal. There is just enough variation through the EP to keep things interesting without sacrificing any intensity or brutality.

Phidion are a band that has perfectly crafted the sound they love. There are hints of originality, but ultimately, this is an EP for those who loved that early 90’s period. It would be interesting to hear this band with better production, but it is by no means unlistenable. Pick this one up and you won’t regret it!

Highlights
"Warzone"
"Slaves to Eternal Insomnia"

Originally written for Skull Fracturing Metal Webzine.