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During an interview with Cradle of Filth's Paul Allender back in April 2007, I asked him if there were any bands out there he'd like to recommend to Metal Discovery readers. With sincere enthusiasm, he proceeded to rave about a band he'd recently seen while on tour with Cradle in Tempe, Arizona, BlessedBeThyName, summarising with a succinct proclamation - "fucking hell, what a band!". A few months later, I remembered his recommendation, contacted the said band, and they sent me their most recent full length release for review. Formed just over a decade ago, and remaining unsigned over that time, 'Phallus In Viscera' is the band's third self-released album. Divided into five acts, the album begins with 'Act I - The Apocrypha', a bastardised version of Enya's emotionally captivating 'Boadicea', remixed with sampled utterances of sinister profundity that are an efficacious contrast to the tranquillity of the music, and serves as an appositely unsettling opening piece as Gull's foreboding words to Netley from Alan Moore's graphic novel 'From Hell' resonate from the stereo - "I shall tell you where we are. We're in the most extreme and utter region of the human mind. A radiant abyss where men meet themselves". Defying obvious categorisation and generic labelling, the music on 'Phallus In Viscera' is engagingly unpredictable through its diversity, and provocative in its philosophical lyricism. This is epitomised by second track 'Festival of the Flesh' with its industrial metal essence seamlessly infused with the polarity of both aggressive musical passages and infectiously melodic, less cacophonic moments, held together by singer Eddie Kelly's impressive polyvocal performance (that most impressed Paul Allender when he saw the band live - "he's the best vocalist I've ever seen and heard...He does every style...and it's all pitch perfect."). Excelling in every style they play, from the powerful industrial metal dynamics on 'Riddles' to the down-tempo quasi-ballad overtones of 'Servitude' and 'The Stillborn Whisper', 'Phallus In Viscera' has potential mass appeal. Once again, to quote Cradle of Filth's axeman - "that's one band that really does need to be signed ‘cause if they get signed, they’ll be massive". After listening to 'Phallus In Viscera', I indubitably echo his sentiments. And with Paul Allender offering to shoot the band's next video, the future looks promising for the Arizonan band. They do, most certainly, deserve to be signed and their music heard by a much wider audience. 'Phallus In Viscera' is, in short, an epic accomplishment, and breathtaking through its musical heterogeneity. Aurally gripping and intelligently philosophical. Highly recommended.
Review by Mark Holmes
March 2006
1) Act I - "The Apocrypha"; 2) Festival of the Flesh; 3) Harlot's Memoirs'; 4) Prenatal; 5) Riddles; 6) Act II - "Canto XXX"; 7) Hircine Proxy; 8) Enslaved; 9) Never; 10) Act III - "Hyms for the Heretical Her"; 11) Servitude; 12) The Empty;13) The Stillborn Whisper; 14) Act IV - "De Vulgari Eloquentia"; 15) Masochist; 16) Wom(B)an; 17) Gnashing Teeth; 18) Act V - "The Reverence"
"Defying obvious categorisation and generic labelling, the music on 'Phallus In Viscera' is engagingly unpredictable through its diversity, and provocative in its philosophical lyricism."