Art by Paolo Girardi
Icon of Phobos and Katheksis deliver two different looks at the underbelly of black metal — from sunny California. They must have recorded the two tracks comprising Primal Death Rites far underground, though, as the music is beyond dark.
Icon of Phobos sound even more deranged and deadly than on their 2011 debut LP. A savage production job highlights their more violent leanings and Deathspell Omega-esque avant-garde elements.
Katheksis’ slightly more atmospheric, though just as raw take on the genre certainly belies the age of the newly-formed group. Though a mid-song rockin’ riff and some chilling keyboards on the outro make the song slightly more palatable, it’s nonetheless more bleak than bright.
Both band’s vocalists heighten the threat with a voice more growled than screeched. The pseudonym-wielding mouthpieces each offer a quote about their respective songs, both of which act as milestones for their projects.
“‘Detriment and Dominance,’ the first Icon of Phobos recording in nearly nine years, touches upon Man’s projection in the concept of God,” explains E.R.M. “Featuring guest vocals from Daniel Dismal, we aimed to illustrate the crippling capacity, yet dominant nature of mankind.”
Perdition steps in to discuss his relatively new project’s contribution.
“‘I Am Death,”‘ the debut Katheksis track, reflects upon the worship of death and its emotional relationship with the human psyche. Through involuntary participation, we are forced to explore this not-so finite conclusion.”
The two even deliver a joint statement of intent for the project as a whole.
“Together, Icon of Phobos and Katheksis anatomize cognate ideas of Life and the Ultimate in Primal Death Rites.”
You can pre-order the split on vinyl via Elegy Ensemble here.