Phantom Lung's 'Abhorrent Entity' Is an Unrelenting Ride

BY Mark TremblayPublished Feb 28, 2023

Phantom Lung harken back to a golden period of death metal/grindcore in Canadian music. Following in a similar vein to that of Ion Dissonance and Beneath the Massacre, the four-piece make music that's sonically punishing and unrelenting — their latest EP Abhorrent Entity is a no-holds-barred showcase of what grindcore and death metal are at the very core.

Abhorrent Entity is a straightforward, banger-filled dispatch of unrelenting blast beats and slightly twisted HM2 grind that manages to overcome the band's sonic shortcomings in favour of dynamic lo-fi exploration. 
Despite Phantom Lung's restricted sonic palette — everything is ground up in the same frequency, leaving the band little wiggle room for exploration — there's a surprising amount of range in their compressed sound. 

While the various found-sound clips used at the beginning of "The Idle Mind is the Devils Playground" or the end of "Ennui" ultimately feel a bit played out, the band use groove and rhythm to create a variety of sonic textures throughout the EP. Whether it's the use of pinch harmonics on "The Idle Mind is the Devils Playground" or the variations on a riff with "Heel," Phantom Lung are able to add subtle nuance within a fairly stringent framework through the push and pull of rhythmic timing in their songs.  The best example of this is the chorus riff in "Mea Culpa," which stretches the intensity to its apex before releasing a satisfying attack — it's these catchy riffs and precise details that sustain listener attention throughout Abhorrent Entity

In the midst of this maelstrom, it's drummer Johnny Macri who's the star of the show; his super tight blast beat patterns throughout are nothing short of spectacular. Within the various blast beats, however, Macri is able to incorporate some interesting drum pattern choices — "The Idle Mind is the Devil's Playground" features a plethora of different patterns between blasts that keep the momentum of the song from ever slipping. 

Abhorrent Entity is a solid introduction to the world of Phantom Lung, showcasing the band's parameters while hinting at bigger things to come. While their grindcore energy and death metal riffs are impressive, a heavier dose of atmosphere and nuance is a tantalizing thought — it feels like there's plenty more to come.  

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