The word “masterpiece” gets thrown around a lot when reviewing black metal music.
Way too much.
The overwhelming majority of metal bands will never, ever record a classic album. A handful of them will record one masterpiece, and only one, due to having the right people in the right room at the right time, when the stars are aligned or whatever.
Even fewer bands can record two classic albums in their careers. These are the groups we call geniuses. Bands like Darkthrone (Soulside Journey/Under a Funeral Moon), Suffocation (Effigy/Breeding the Spawn) and Morbid Angel (Altars/Blessed) fall into this category.
Out of that tiny fraction of a fraction, a smaller group still can do it twice (or more) in a row. These are the gods among musicians – Burzum, Graveland, Incantation. You can now add Phantom to that list.
After 2017’s universally-praised Eidolon, who would have thought that they could release another masterpiece of black metal only a year after?
With Withdrawal, they’ve done just that.
The incredible songwriting skills are evident.
The dual weapons of raw dissonant assault and harmonic subtlety have never been in more capable hands, resulting in tracks both hypnotic and disturbing.
Not only that, but it’s consistent, and feels like a true album – the same cannot be said of most modern black metal, unfortunately.
It really makes you wonder where such brilliance comes from.
Withdrawal is, for once, deserving of the title. A true black metal masterpiece.