Phazm - Cornerstone of the Macabre

1. Love Me Rotten (Love Me True)
2. The Worm on the Hook
3. Damnation
4. Strange Song
5. Welcome to My Funeral
6. The Old Smell of the Meat
7. Mucho Mojo!
8. The End
9. Necrophiliac
10. Damage Inc.
11. Adrift

Pierrick (V, G & dobro)
Max (B & G)
Gorgor (D)

Antebellum Death'n Roll (06)
Hate at First Seed (04)

Francis Caste (prod.)



I’ll start by name-dropping a band that no one ever heard: Solefald. Phazm reminds me of the feeling I got when I heard Solefald. They feel more chaotic, and as they try to be uniqe, pherhaps pioneers of a new genre, than something of quality and as skilled musicans. Phazm appears as a band that doesn’t really know what they’re doing, even if they themselves probably beg the difference. Their musical genius does not come forth on what can be heard on this album, if it now exist somewhere.

’Cornerstone of the Macabre’ feels weird, odd, dumb and chaotic. There soesn’t seem to be any harmonies, systems or direct links between the parts and songs and afortunately it only get even more so with the type of growling used, it doesn’t even remotely fit with the music.

Phazms very unique music and different style is far from common and you can’t really miss them in a jukebox shuffle, yet they feel one or two steps too far on the weird side for the common music- hard rock- or metal listener. My guess is that very few – despite the different kind of music – will actually remember what they just heard. This is not Dream Theater strangeness we’re talking about but blam blam dad a. You can draw a conection to art – there are artists painting so realistic that it’s almost photographic, others that paint surrealistic yet close to photographic, some paint very beautiful but not so photographic and then there are those which paintings are just strange and undefineable and whatever message the artist might have had it don’t come through, and even if it do gets noticed in an art gallery I guess no one can recall it later on. It’s this last version that Phazm can be compared with. While magnificent power metal acts like Stratovarius make photographic art and Dream Theater photographic surrealism – Phazm only makes that strange art that no one remember as soon as they hit the streets outside the gallery.

The best with ‘Cornerstone of the Macabre’ is the second half. The elevator music in track four (which actually is called Strange Song) isn’t bad but it’s neither a good song, which starts with track seven (Mucho Mojo). From here the albums gets more definable and slighty understandable. The cover of Metallicas Damage Inc. is something critics will call a butcher and point to when telling shortcomings of Phazm – some will on the other hand call it a butcher in the other way. Personally I think it’s a good choise of cover, IF they had to put one in, but Metallicas version is better and the song is to sloppy to show some sort of genious in Phazm.

Overall this is too incoherent, unlogical and chaotic to reach out to the listener. But I guess Phazm follows their heart and makes the kind of music they want to do – or otherwise they just tries to be unique without realizing that the best way to be unique is to make music of quality and a personal touch, even though it might sound a bit reminding to other bands. The music is odd, weird and hard to understand, but it also have some exiting and sometimes even brilliant pieces. I guess the best thing is to listen to the band and decide for your self what you think.


Written 08-30-08

Label: Osmose
Three similar bands: Solefald/Decapitated/Notre Dame
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm