Phlebotomized – Deformation of Humanity

Rating: 4.0/5
Distributor/Label: Hammerheart Records
Released: 2018
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Band lineup:

Tom Palms – Guitars
Rob op’t Veld – Keyboards
Ben De Graff – Vocals
Dennis Bolderman – Guitars
André de Heus – Bass
Alex Schollema – Drums

  1. Premonition (Impending Doom)
  2. Chambre Ardente
  3. Descend To Deviance
  4. Eyes On The Prize
  5. Desideratum
  6. My Dear,…
  7. Proclamation Of A Terrifie…
  8. Until The End
  9. Deformation Of Humanity
  10. Until The End
  11. Ataraxia II

Phlebotomized seem to like to take long breaks in between reforming and releasing an album. The band formed in 1990 and put out a few demos and a couple of EPs before 1994’s debut full release in ‘Immense Intense Suspense’. It was followed up by their second release in ‘Sky Contact’ (1997) but there was a gap in between then and now for new material to be released. There were a couple of compilation albums which coincided with the band coming back to existence in 2013 with an overhaul in band members from 2015 changing the set up so that guitarist Tom Palms remained the only original member.

Fans have waited a long time for some new material. 21 years in fact, and I would say that ‘Deformation Of Humanity’ was worth the wait. Everything is more succinct and makes much more sense musically. ‘Sky Contact’ was quite experimental and had so much going on that things got muddled and a bit convoluted in comparison to their latest effort. There’s still plenty of the avant-garde on display but, as a whole, things are heavier; so much heavier. The death metal elements take prominence in many songs especially on tracks like ‘Eyes On The Prize’ and ‘Chambre Ardente’ but there’s much more to the music than the death metal aspects.

Like earlier works, we get lots of synths and some well worked moments of string sections in some songs. Phlebotomized just seem to have it much more finely tuned and focused towards a greater goal and the music reflects this in its resonance and stay-ability. There’s a horror feel to the circus of music that’s on display. The title track makes me think of a mad carnival of terror with it’s creepy synths and maddening break. The lead work is also quite polished throughout and sells some of the melo-death parts which can lag a bit at times but overall the elements work quite well together.

I don’t know if it was the amount of time afforded to create something much grander than before, or the recent changes to the lineup, or if wisdom comes with age, but there’s something on ‘Deformation Of Humanity’ that works much better. It could be for any of these reasons, or for all of them combined, or something entirely different, but it works and Phlebotomized have created a really solid album here. The cover artwork may be a tad unimaginable but the music certainly is not and has some great creative expression on it. Let’s see how long it takes to get the next one out.

Review By:

Pete Mutant