DSKNT – PhSPHR

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label: Clavis Secretorvm
Distributor/Label URL: http://www.clavisecretorvm.com/
Released: 4/12/17
Buy Album: https://dsknt.bandcamp.com/releases
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/PhSPHR.Entropy/

Band Line-up:

asknt – Everything,
Deus Mortuus – Vocals.

Track Listing:

1. Exhaling Dust
2. S.O.P.O.R.
3. Kr. Vy. Rites
4. Kr. Vy. Portals
5. Resurgence Of Primordial Void Aperture
6. PhSPHR Entropy

Review

Often, a single-person project can fall victim to an ego-influenced indulgence; a body of work overwrought with every single idea ever conceived being thrown into the cauldron, to bubble away and create some form of aural allurement. Without a second opinion to perhaps balance this, very often the product becomes more aural abomination than attraction. So one wonders what went through the mind of asknt, the mastermind behind the Swiss black metal entity DSKNT? How best to bring something coherent to the table in a genre notorious for its (audible) incoherence?

Strictly-speaking, DKSNT isn’t a one-man show, but a two-man job. Whilst asknt mans every instrument, Deus Mortuus (of Blakk Old Blood and Antiversum fame) provides the vocal lightning rod around which the cacophony revolves. Whether there was a strong collaboration between the two, or a “mercenary” type deal going on is anyone’s guess, but by hook or crook (or likely sound judgement), DSKNT has managed to produce the goods. Driven solely by the concept of chaos, “PhSPHR Entropy” is a fiery debut album of black metal, with a strong penchant for dissonance and ringing arpeggiated chords that resound hollow in the mind.

As is typical with the genre, the fire erupts with a blast as opener “Exhaling Dust” blazes into life. Frantic, almost desperate drumming anchors the icy guitars as cavernous growls clamour in the depths, courtesy of Messr Mortuus – it’s an exhilarating start to proceedings. Elements of noise and experimental creep ominously into the fold as the album progresses, with the noise-black metal one-two of “Kr. Vy. Rites” and “Kr. Vy. Portals” showcasing this delectably. Better yet, the latter proves that “PhSPHR Entropy” isn’t all about blast beats and grinding tremolo guitars, with the tempo dropping to a knuckle-dragging dirge; harking an undead shuffle through turgid fields.

The fear with many a black metal record is that they will tread the same water; unending arctic blasts with little let up for breath. Whilst that is a stylistic choice, and more power to those who elect to stick with it, musically-speaking it can feel rather staid and lacking impact. However, DKSNT’s focus towards chaos in musica (moreover musical chaos) does make for a surprisingly tight listen. There are times when the drawn-out pieces on offer here can meander away from the listener, somewhat – perhaps a result of the set pace that each song seems to have – but you’re always pulled back in. There’s just these little phantom melodies and quirks that prick at the ears to tease the listener back into the fold, and by Odin’s beard is it effective.

It’d be so easy to make a record that simply rips through an hour of tired, boring, cookie-cutter black metal whilst chucking on some extraneous noise to rack up experimental points. There’s hundreds of records out there that do just that. We metalheads are often guilty of labelling pop music as soulless, but there’s definitely a lack of spirit in some albums that fly the dark banner of black metal. But the fact that mastermind asknt and vocalist Mortuus have managed to bring together these elements and make something musical out of it should be commended. Despite it’s frenetic nature, there’s almost a sense of order about this chaotic slab of unholy metal.

“PhSPHR Entropy” won’t win any points for originality, let’s get that out of the way. It’s black metal at the end of the day and, by and large, you know exactly what you’re going to get. It’s why you listen to it and, likely, why you’re here and reading this. But what DKSNT seem to have woven into this familiar fabric, is a sense of reanimation. A new sense of life about their brand of black metal. It may be familiar, but there’s those little moments (the noise, the drops in tempo, the ghost melodies that litter the record), that hit the right notes. “PhSPHR Entropy”: a measure of disorder within a music system.

Review by Lee Carter
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