As a general rule, I fall into the camp that thinks artists switching genres is an almost uniformly bad idea. Are there examples of artists pilfering musical genres with great success? Of course there are. But by and large the music created by artists in this particular space reeks of amateurism, with only the novelty of these releases making them moderately appealing. Brutal/tech death legend Phlegeton, known mostly for his work with the exceptional Wormed, proves to be a notable exception to the above rule, as his one-man black metal project Lifelost is teeming with invention and reverence for the genre. The project’s debut, Dialogues from Beyond, is as fantastic a black metal debut as one could hope for, and we are pleased to be premiering the album’s final track “Incorporeal Gate” exclusively at Heavy Blog.
From note one, this track is nothing short of enthralling. Melding an ever-shifting melodic base with sharp, technical guitar work and a thorough assault of black metal drum blasts, the track comes off as something both steeped in the rich tradition of black metal and reaching for something more. For sonic reference, think the atmosphere of Mgła or Blut Aus Nord mixed with the disconcerting technical mathematics of Dodecahedron and DSNKT and you’ll come close to pinning down the sounds this track conjures. Much of this probing into bold black metal territory can be attributed to the superb songwriting present here and Phlegeton’s vocals, which add a unique flavor to the standard black metal formula, rumbling in the background with a gargled ferocity that feels positively primordial. Stacked atop his bear-in-a-tar-pit vocal delivery are the guitars, which belch riff after hellish riff with technical mastery and off-kilter aggression. But while the performances are exceptional, it’s the track’s construction that makes it a real treat. Melodies ebb, flow, build, and fall apart in a cyclical rush that would be utterly disorienting if not for the patterns Phlegeton has embedded into the song’s construction, which continually bring us back to a space of familiarity that feels as if it could topple at any moment. It’s riveting songwriting that causes the track, and the album, to cut with all the razor sharpness of the best of modern black metal.
While I may not be the biggest fan of musical genre-switching, “Incorporeal Gate” presents a sterling example of music created by an artist whose exploration into bold new territory is based in sheer skill and love for genre history and mechanics. This is a premium black metal track that should satisfy fans of any of the above bands, and is a brilliant cap to an album not to be missed. Dialogues from Beyond is out October 28th through Transcending Obscurity Records, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page. Get on it.