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Phantom Limb - Mors Ontologica
13 August 2011

01. Un Oscuro Scrutare
02. For The Damned
03. Origin Of Ruin
04. Intoxifixation
05. Chameleon
06. Engraved Within
07. Follow The Dead
08. Awakening

If played in the proper order, I can imagine a lot of metal fans who don't like prog making disparaging faces and tossing Mors Ontologica aside after finishing the first track. Right into the bin hastily labeled "pretentious". It's got the weird, the wtf, the wank, and nothing that could conceivably be called metal to it. It's closer to jazz than it is to something you could mosh to. Not that Sarah Vaughan doesn't make me want to mosh or anything, but you get the point.

Don't let the intro fool you though. This album gets vicious. Like, really vicious. Like, Jon Jones smacking your newborn while your wife is getting immolated by a pack of rapey neanderthals vicious... almost, at least.

Mix that with the continuous weird, wtf, and wank on this and Mors is the sort of prog trip everyone should consider taking. Phantom Limb is in the business of surprising their listeners.

Think Continuo Renacer meets a bloody fist through a windshield. Then throw some Cynic in. Mors goes from stumbling around all proggishly into full-blown, blood soaked stomps. It tricks you into thinking your gonna tug at your goatee to some jazzy shit, then sends in the rapey neanderthals.

Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks to this. The production, for one, is weak. The vocals and riffs bring the pile-driving, biting insanity, but the production slips everything into a straight jacket. As much as the progginess might make that seem appropriate, it just doesn't work with the more brutal bits. A little more distortion and a little more crispiness would have been nice.

Biggest problem has to do with the consistency factor here, though. There are brilliant tracks and brilliant moments throughout, but there are also more than a few moments that just aren't that interesting or challenging or brutal. Riffs have the tendency to get lost, something some prog fans might cheer, but rather than melting back together in the end, a number of tracks on this clog with their technicality and never recover.

The vocals can get a little iffy sometimes too. The growls are excellent throughout, but the singing can get a little trying sometimes. It has its moments of greatness, but those are balanced out pretty well by its mediocre moments. The growling is simple, in your face, and brutal. The singing seems to be going for NWOBHM-esque epicness, and it does undoubtedly have the cheese, but it doesn't quite sound heartfelt. I don't know if this is something that could have been bettered by some better mixing, but, fact is, I couldn't help but wish for more growling throughout.

Overall, however, can't stress enough that this definitely is a good album. Expect bigger shinier things from these Canadians in the future once they get some mixing help.

Band profile: Phantom Limb
Album: Mors Ontologica


Written on 09.01.2012 by
Wormdrink's real name is George and he's an American.
More reviews by wormdrink414 ››


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Boxcar Willy - 09.01.2012 at 05:15  
Rapey neanderthals hmm?...

Checking it out.
Kuroboshi - 09.01.2012 at 07:43  
Sounds interesting enough!
Merchant of Doom - 09.01.2012 at 10:17  
Haven't listened, but sounds awful!
metaleaterr - 09.01.2012 at 12:58  
Yummy! Gonna check it out today!
Void Eater - 10.01.2012 at 01:28  
Listened to the song For The Damned; just the way I like my prog-heavy, riffy, long winded, and shamelessly technical. These guys need more attention.

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