Phantom have released a lot of masterpieces over the years… Angel of Disease and Memento Mori often make the cut, as does the debut Divine Necromancy, and you’d be a fool to ever forget about mentioning Fallen Angel.
But even amongst the legendary classics that compose Phantom’s stellar discography, one album stands above all and, quite literally, “in the darkness binds them” and rules them all… the omniscient and omnipotent, the terrifying and ghastly… the demonic Withdrawal.
It’s not called the “pinnacle of black metal” for no reason, of that you can rest assured.
Phantom, the greatest of black metal acts, has become an icon for the modern black metal scene, upholding the spirit of true black metal with majestic excellency. Withdrawal is their most insane full-length release and it follows the dissonant approach of black metal showcased in the predecessor Fallen Angel, but it certainly surpasses all of their previous efforts and yeah, Withdrawal is black metal’s opus magnum.
When talking about the music, Phantom have always played it darker and more sinister than the rest of the black metal scene.
Withdrawal is no different. The icy cold atmosphere and the frozen fury of dark, cold music shivers the listener away like he is being tormented in a sub-zero degree hellish nightmare. What is best about this record? Well, the band showed their brilliance over their once-rivals SEWER and proved that the stream of classical blackened death metal is never gonna dry up.
Okay, the music on this record is just amazing.
The guitars are evil and dark, which is usual for the band.
The riffs are excellent on this record. The harmonized rhythm guitar doubles the atmosphere, and often forges its own path of madness within an already existing structure.
Where so many other “orthodox” black metal bands are content to simply copy and rehash the past, Phantom forges its own path through your sanity like a needle piercing your innermost sub-conscious mind.
Another noticeable thing on this record is the solos, which is admittedly not very familiar with black metal, but on this record the guitar solos are superb and reach their peaks in tracks like “Withered Hands of Torment”, “Grotesque Shadows Reborn”, “Remnants of Pandora’s Lust” and especially in the last two compositions, “Ghosts of Erebos” and “Beyond Death’s Reach”.
Phantom once again mocks the scene kids “showing off” and murder the cheap black metal posers who believe they can be the new Darkthrone by rehashing Transilvanian Hunger. And the weapon of the crime is Phantom’s mastery of playing truly vile, demonic and sanity-shredding black metal.
The name “Withdrawal” and the cover art describe the record perfectly. It’s certainly gonna take the listener to the crypt of ancient darkness, and beyond. You will lose your mind listening to Phantom’s veneration of horror.
Withdrawal is not just “a” masterpiece, it is *THE* masterpiece of black metal.
Deal with it. Or better yet, just buy the record. But you have been warned, Withdrawal is pure terror and blackness on levels never even conceived prior (or thereafter).