From the frozen wastes of Canada comes the world’s most fiery new band. Formed in 2013, this Alberta-based trio count among their ranks the bassist of brutal deathers Display of Decay, as well as the guitarist and drummer of blackened death troupe Dire Omen. If those bands fall into your “nod along and pretend you’ve heard of them” category, fret not, because Phylactery is something else entirely. With debut Necromancy Enthroned, these Canucks have taken death metal and infused it with enough thrash to make Slayer gag. You like Sweden’s Merciless? Been asking for a thrashier Gospel of the Horns? How about a death-ier Absu? Phylactery answer your prayers with a 35-minute onslaught that will beat you down like a two-story goat monster whacking away a horde of swarming skeletons.

I won’t mince words: Necromancy Enthroned is the riffiest album I’ve ever heard. This album makes Master of Puppets look like Music for Airports. This album makes Sodom look like Sunn O))). This album is the reason why my socks remain unfolded while I stand over my bed playing air guitar. Over these 11 tracks, not a single measure is wasted on an empty chord, cleanly picked interlude, or ambient intro. Instead, guitarist Tyler Goudreau delivers a nonstop stream of thrashing riffs that are wilder than a rabid dog and catchier than whatever I caught that summer in Saigon.

Furious, feral, ferocious — all the best “f” adjectives apply, including “fuckin’ thrashtastic.” These riffs pull from every trick in the book – vicious rapid chugs (opener “Risen Restless Dead”), smoldering tremolos (“Where I Dwell”), boom-doosh chord strikes (“Enslaved by the Dawn”), cruising mid-tempo builds (“Fulminations”), and frantic staccato power chords (every track on the album). More importantly, the riffs flow and morph naturally throughout each song’s runtime, effortlessly avoiding choppy transitions while fostering memorability. Take aforementioned “Risen,” whose main progression prowls along like a starving jackal amidst a row of Nocturnal Graves. Likewise “Eyes of Fury and Flame” rises high on a melodic Desaster verse before inflicting some twisted Morbid Angel notes and a swift crunchy groove. But the most headbangable moment of the record (and possibly the year) lies in closer “Eat of My Disease,” which bursts into a bouncing punk beat and simple two-chord riff that will have your doctor asking why your neck is shaped like a crowbar.

In fact, the riffs take up so much of the spotlight it almost feels like a moot point talking about anything else. Nonetheless drummer Kevin Trueblood is no slouch either, delivering relentless and battering beats that propel things along with an Absu-like urgency. Trueblood even takes note from Absu’s Proscriptor by serving as the band’s vocalist, punctuating his rhythms with a feral, spitfire rasp. The production is also nothing to cry about, remaining dry yet spacious with a healthy DR that conjures an appropriately barren atmosphere.

Yet for all these positives, Enthroned‘s biggest strength is something of a double-edged sword. This is an album that lives and dies by the Almighty Riff, wasting no time on depth, nuance, or even guitar solos (hell, the only song with a fucking solo is second track “Wisdom of Heretics”). While the raw energy and sheer abundance of ideas make for an exciting listen, a few more songwriting twists like the closing Slayer melody of aforementioned “Disease” — not to mention a bit more overall character — could have really elevated Phylactery above the pack.

Still, the fact remains — Enthroned doesn’t just rip, it rips your intestines right out of your bung hole and eats them while you watch in horror. This is a good album for the same reason the last Mad Max film was a good movie: when the action is this enjoyable, you don’t need much story and intricacy. The fact that Enthroned succeeds so well based almost solely on the strength of its riffs is more than enough testament to its quality. Fans of Possessed, Morbid Saint, and other manic death-thrash are sure to love this, as is anyone who isn’t afraid to start shitting a stream of molten lead. When it comes to Phylactery, not even Canada can cool this heat.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Releases Worldwide: August 1st, 2017

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  • sir_c

    Spot on. I really like the fast action, but it won’t win any Grammy Awards. Well done.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Grammy Awards are not very Metal. Could you believe “Altars of Madness” didn’t win Grammy Album of the Year for 1989?

      • Nukenado

        I think Kid Rock won a Grammy or something.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          That’s an awesome joke. Wether he did win a Grammy or not, either way it’s an awesome joke.

        • sir_c

          It was misspelt: Granny Award

  • wayne the devil

    Hails to the Brothers and Sisters up north. More awesome Canadian Metal. Killing up there man…. This is right up my alley.

  • Luca Popescu

    Nice! This is like a grittier version of that Satanic Slavery album that Necrowretch put out earlier this year.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      That Necrowretch album rips.

  • Planex

    “Necromancy Enthroned is the riffiest album I’ve ever heard.”



    • hallowed

      You know, my brother once told me that nothing someone says before the word “but” really counts.

      • Brutalist_Receptacle


        • [not a Dr]

          But you just listened to advice which, because it was written before the word that starts with “b” and ends with “ut”, doesn’t count.

        • Master of Muppets

          Priceless as always, I wish you got royalties for every time one of these ridiculous comments made me laugh.

  • Name’s Dalton

    Me! Me! I’m not afraid to start shitting a stream of molten lead!

  • Slam Grandpa

    I wasn’t that big of a fan for this album and I can’t comprehend how your claims that this is the “riffiest album I ever heard” led it up to getting a 3.5? Eh not for me but thanks for sharing anyways

  • André Snyde Lopes

    It has a goat so I am duty-bound to check this out.

  • Master of Muppets

    Wicked fun read, and the band certainly sounds promising. All in all, it’s been a solid Wednesday here.

  • Nukenado

    There’s a shitload of riffs, sure, but since I’m a melodic poseur I’d wish the distortion wasn’t applied so much.

    Well, at least I had a seizure headbobbing session, so that’s cool.

  • Westpaceagle

    Fuuuucking love this album! And yes there are riffs for days. This has more of a thrash vibe than the necro records, which also slay. Horns all around, horns for all my friends!

  • Apple Tree

    From the sound of the review, this sounds more like a 4. Im listening to it as soon as i get back from work

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Riffiest album you’ve ever heard? I must check it out!

  • HeavyMetalHamster
    • Nukenado

      We’ll all be sorry!

    • Master of Muppets


      • Name’s Dalton

        He had it aboot right.

        • Master of Muppets

          I’m afraid it’s not enough, buddy.

          • Name’s Dalton

            I’m not your buddy, guy.

          • Master of Muppets

            I’m not your guy, fwen’.

          • Name’s Dalton

            I’m not your fwen, pal.

    • Eli Valcik

      Well alrighty there

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Where’s the Venom Inc. review?

    • sir_c

      Not in this thread, obviously

  • jersey devil

    “Music for Airports” Ha!
    I wish they played this in airports.

  • Bryan Barkman

    Not bad, but the tom-toms or bongos or whatever the hell those drums are, they sound really loud and the drummer really, really loves playing them. Probably shouldn’t bother me as much as it did but eh, there it is.

  • Unspeakable Axe

    This review was the Phylactery of reviews – full of so many good pull quotes I didn’t even know which one to use. The pull-quotiest review of all time. Great read, thanks!

  • Eli Valcik

    Gotta love unspeakable axe

  • Eli Valcik

    If you liked this but wished it had more black metal, check out the newest Hellripper album, it’s pretty fucking insane.

    • Tofu muncher

      Coagulating Darkness IS pretty fucking insane! m/(>.<)m/

  • OzanCan

    Oh man, ALL HAIL THE LICH GOD! I am sold m/

  • Innit Bartender

    Review of the month!

  • John Mosley

    I for one love the record label name. Unspeakable Axe!

  • Phil Daly

    The Ripper album “Experiment of Existence” featured in the suggestions at the end if pretty damn riffy. Made me go digging for the old Attomica albums now!