2012 saw Dephosphorus release their second album (although I've heard Axiom called an extended play by some, so feel free to comment and tell me I'm a dumbass if I'm wrong about it being a full-length). Titled Night Sky Transform, it's nice to see these Greeks have stuck to their successful space aesthetic.
Night Sky Transform is much less immediate than Axiom and definitely requires more dedicated active listening sessions. Luckily the album is nearly as short as its predecessor, clocking in at just over twenty-five minutes. On first listen its easy to pick Night Sky Transform apart. The production is a lot more compressed sounding, the bass is less audible, and there are a handful of hardcore moments on this release that are significantly lighter than their grindcore counterparts on Axiom. They do a decent job of injecting variety into the rhythm. This isn't really a bad thing, but there are a bunch of quasi-clean vocal sequences which conflict with the aggressive-yet-otherworldly sound they established with their past release.
Wait a second, clean vocals on what is essentially a deathgrind release? Not exactly, but they might as well be. They crop up on "The Fermi Paradox," "Unconscious Excursion," and "Aurora." They work best on "The Fermi Paradox," which is basically a slow-paced mid-album intermission track. On "Unconscious Excursion" they follow a similar formula, but luckily the track ramps to a violent conclusion. The last half of "Aurora" gets away with it only because it's a conclusion track. Essentially what I'm getting at is that these sections that are deliberately trying to create a sense of atmosphere or thematic do not work for Dephosphorus and they originally put me off of Night Sky Transform.
Over time I've grown to not mind the quasi-clean vocal sequences, and the rest of the album is pretty good bar the production. The groovy riffs of my personal favorite "The Astral Putsch I: Plateau Of Initiation" and "Starless" are a welcome diversion from the usual blasting. The title track is a hardcore romp that gets down to grind business about halfway through, featuring vocals from both Panos and Nikos. It lends some energy to an album that at times feels lacking in it.
Night Sky Transform's "weak" moments aren't particularly bad, they just weren't what I was expecting coming from Dephosphorus. Axiom spoiled me with atmosphere created through the use of infectious melodies and aggressive songwriting, and I expected the same from this release. I don't have a problem with the band trying out new styles and trying to innovate their sound, but I did not think that the means by which they attempted to do so on Night Sky Transform worked out so well. Still a solid album nonetheless!
8.0 out of 10
1. Cold Omen
3. Night Sky Transform
4. The Fermi Paradox
5. The Astral Putsch I: Plateau Of Initiation
6. Identify The Encapsulator
7. Unconscious Excursion