The entity known as LIMBONIC ART has quietly achieved a cult following amongst the black metal elite, but they have never been as popular or successful as some of their fellow Norwegian cohorts. After departing with long time collaborator and current MAYHEM guitarist, Morfeus, Daemon continues the journey alone – handling all composing and arranging duties for Phantasmagoria.
The keyboards on Phantasmagoria have been toned down slightly, as compared to previous albums, but the lush LIMBONIC ART atmosphere is still prevalent when needed. Daemon does an excellent job of writing catchier songs, as noted with the title track, “Crypt of Bereavement,” and “Curse of the Necromancer.” The vocals are as evil as ever, with Daemon’s vocals combining both power and enunciation while retaining his raspy voice. A problem that has plagued LIMBONIC ART in the past, however, is that their albums are too long, and this one clocks in at over an hour. This creates a lull in the album as the middle tracks, “Dark Winds” and “A World in Pandemonium,” are a bit slow and do nothing to alleviate the sudden drop in energy.
Fortunately, the music’s pace picks back up with speed and intensity as “Apocalyptic Manifestation” includes some excellent riffs, and segues nicely into the latter portion of the album. Hate filled, and enraged, Phantasmagoria ends with the epic track, “Astral Projection,” which includes all LIMBONIC ART characteristics – an eight minute track with blasting drums, true Norwegian black metal riffage, symphonic breakdowns, demonic vocals, and a fitting end to a long journey.
Previous LIMBONIC outings have been a mixed bag of black metal and symphonic parts that were a bit overkill and over the top, but Phantasmagoria has an ideal balance of both, with straight forward black metal and no flowery sounding keyboard parts. The production is much improved, and while not perfect, this album is a great listen for fans of the band, as well as TARTAROS and early COVENANT (Norway) fans. (Candlelight Records/Nocturnal Art Productions)