The epic story told through Hetroertzen’s new album Phosphorus Vol 1 is riveting enough but pales compared to the band’s. This black metal four-piece originated as a solo project spearheaded by drummer Deacon D. back in 1997, raging south of the equator in Chile. When 2009 rolled around, the founding member relocated to the opposite hemisphere, Sweden, to recruit bandmates and finally play live. Phosphorus Vol 1 is Hetroertzen’s fourth full-length as a band and the seventh overall, counting Deacon D.’s solo releases.
The 10-track labyrinth, with “each title enclosing a key or ‘Clavicula’ which reveals different passages to the Adept” as the band proclaims, begins with the brief instrumental “The Arrival.” Nightmarish synths and a haunting choir set the stage appropriately for the coming hymns of the occult. “Sea in Black” follows and unveils the full ensemble, immediately stinging with hyper beats and tremolo riffs. What also truly strikes right away is vocalist/guitarist Anubis’ anguished and ultra-articulate vocal delivery. Contrary to 99% of black metal singers, his lyrics ring crystal clear and understandable, as if he’s presenting a sermon to an audience.
Anubis paints a vivid picture through his voice in the cyclopean track “Hall of Wonders.” Disorienting guitar chords and bent notes also add to its maze-like imagery. The cunning execution of flanged guitars provides a spiritually tormenting visual also in the verse of “Absorption of the Current II,” floating over Deacon D.’s groove.
The Gnostic tale of terror rolls along as “Vultanis Satani” barrels over souls with its mid-tempo thrash riffs. It then slows down to a hopeless and dispiriting bridge comprised of doom rhythms. “I Am Sickness, I Am Death” shows no mercy in its witchy melodies and damning vocals. The album’s single sonically translates lessons in the Royal Art or the Dragon’s Art, communicating the visceral methods of alchemy.
“Pantokrator” flaunts a harrowing guitar lead early on and a standoffish bridge of tremolo riffs and tom drum accents. Piggybacking this offender is the album’s closer, “The Conjuring of the Seven Spirits.” Here we have a morbid celebratory banger that sees Anubis leaning harder into his words. This finisher also contains the most innovative bass lines on the full-length.
Ultimately, Phosphorus Vol 1 is a black metal composition that’s robust with a dark atmosphere and taboo concepts. Let it violate your soul when it releases on September 16 via Listenable Records.
Buy the album here.
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