Ulcerate reference in the title? I'm not going to stop so don't bother telling me to.
Dephosphorus' Axiom was a contender for album of the year 2010. Shame I didn't create this blog until 2011 or else this album would've been near the top of my year end list. Let's see how it holds up.
Greek act Dephosphorus bring a new dynamic to the largely stagnant grindcore game. They fuse elements of the black metal aesthetic with frenetic death metal riffing, packaging them into a concise little album that delivers a sucker punch to the brain. The band coin their style "astrogrind," which is surprisingly fitting given more than just the thematic of the album.
Coming in at just over nineteen minutes, Axiom is easy to pick up and listen to multiple times in a sitting. This is often the downfall of grindcore bands as they get mired in their own repetitive nature. Song structures repeat, riffs sound similar, aggression falls flat after it's been let out of the metaphorical bottle, etc. Dephosphorus excel at making their music engaging and fun to listen to. Bouncy d-beater "Continuum" and band-titled "Dephosphorus" are both incredibly entertaining tracks. This is because Dephosphorus often play higher register melodies that add a new dynamic to what already comes across as filthy, bass-rattling grind. Later track "Indulge Me In Silence" begins with a very cool bassline and a subdued dissonant melody. Over the course of the song the melodies are brought more to light, and the concept is again revisited on "Knife Missile." Despite being short, each of these tracks feels developed and like they could stand alone.
The rhythmic elements on Axiom are what makes each track so appealing to listen to. The bass is active, generally populating the low-end with dry rattling sounds, and the drums are wonderfully organic. The kicks have bass, the snare sounds loose, and the cymbals are resonant. Panos' vocals are varied and shift between high, hoarse squawks to guttural roars. Thanos is no slouch on guitar, and he riddles chunky grindcore riffs with high pitched notes that don't quite sound like they belong. The effects are audible throughout Axiom, giving it an otherworldly sound. The occasional and brief use of electronic elements (usually denoting the end of a particular song, like with album closer "On the Verge of an Occurrence") add to this ambiance.
Exploring otherworldly ambiance through an aggressive medium like grindcore is worthy of commendation. Sure death metal bands can do it, but usually they tend to be on the doomier side of things. Technical death bands like Origin attempt to do it too, but it hardly ever builds any sort of resonating atmosphere and instead serves as fleeting imagery for drunken lyrical inspiration. Axiom literally sounds like an extracosmic voice screaming as worlds are created, destroyed, and changed by the winds of the universe. A welcome surprise and come 2013, still a welcome listen.
9.0 out of 10
4. Indulge Me In Silence
5. Knife Missile
6. The Long Crossing
7. On The Verge Of An Occurrence