Phlegeton - The Transcendence of Demon Lords
Paragon Records 2009
Brazil is a fertile ground for extreme metal and one of their less heralded but no less deserving acts is Dark Celebration. Phlegeton is their third full-length album and shows a band in transition. This release features 4 brand new tracks and three tracks previously released on the Dark Celebration/Sodamned split album. Reverse Creation opens the album with heavy rhythmic death metal similar to modern Morbid Angel but with a more melodic edge to empower the tightly balanced blast beats. These melodic sensibilities come more to the forefront with Sulphur where light, Gothenburg rest lightly against raging and brutal Floridian death metal. Osculurus Infernum features more Swedish melodies with shades of lingering darkness that abruptly give way to traditional heavy metal hooks and quirky harmonics. As an exercise in Krisiun influenced relentlessly hyper drumming, Infra Dark batters not only with sharp snares and rumbling bass drums but also meaty South American death metal riffage. Bearing a more futuristic tone is Legacy of Fire with a somewhat awkward spoken word interplay with the death metal vocals which I am not a fan of. Ending the album with another old track, Soul's Harvester Machine finds Dark Celebration leaving the listener looking rearward rather than leaving them with a hunger for future endeavors. The difference between the older songs which are more aggressive and brutal and the newer ones which are more melodic is extremely noticeable and creates a somewhat uneven listen. The vocals go against tradition by being more understandable though still gruff, sounding as if D.G. is straining his throat muscles. At times Dark Celebration is a clash of styles with overflowing melodies woven into the song structures right next to relentlessly aggressive and brutal Floridian death metal. If this marriage of styles sounds appealing to you then you will likely find Phlegeton a rewarding listening experience. Though the more melodic material is well written and enjoyable I prefer the bestial hostility of their earlier songs.