ALBUM REVIEW: Phased ‘Aeon’

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PHASED
‘Aeon’
Czar Of Bullets, November 2015
8/10

Creeping, Saint Vitus-style riffs, sludgy tones and drifting, spacey interludes prove to be a winning combination on Swiss band Phased’s latest album, ‘Aeon’.

These days the former stoner rock outfit prefer to keep it slow and downright miserable, rarely venturing beyond snail’s pace in their pursut of musical nirvana. Neither is there much evidence of founder Chris Sigdell’s noise-rock roots – this is more elegant, understated and heavy than the band’s previous recordings – although the commitment to psychedelic wizardry remains.

Phased have been referred to as the “Hawkwind of doom”, although for reasons unknown the band themselves call their music “motor doom”.

Sigdell’s confidently anguished vocals are as solid and steady as the shuddering chords of woe that his much-abused guitar strings emit. A second guitarist has been added since the album was recorded, so Phased will now pack an even meatier punch on the stages of Basel and beyond.

Phased are living proof that a good riff is pretty much all you need to create a compelling song. Bruising tracks such as the magnificent ‘Eternal Sleep’ and the oustanding ‘Seed Of Misery’ demonstrate the timeless power of a cool, simple doom metal riff when handled with maturity and a pinch of creativity.

Occasionally, and particularly on the track ‘Etched’, Phased head off on a long-distance space mission when perhaps a song might benefit more from staying focused and building atmosphere through smart writing rather than bleary-eyed repetition.

The album could handle a little more variety during its second half, but the pounding languor of Phased’s approach is, it must be said, delightful in its old-fashioned faithfulness. The Swiss band manages to stay true to the genre’s essential traits while adding its own flourishes to create a memorable album of fantastic spaced-out doom.

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