AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeö: Paraphilia – The Memory of Death Given Form

“AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeö” is a time-honored tradition to showcase the most underground of the underground—the unsigned and unpromoted. This collective review treatment continues to exist to unite our writers in boot or bolster of the bands who remind us that, for better or worse, the metal underground exists as an important part of the global metal scene. The Rodeö rides on.”

The US Pacific Northwest (occupied by states Oregon, Washington, and Idaho if you ask people who live in Idaho) has as active and gruesome an extreme metal scene as you could ask for, hosting grimy bands like Maestus, Grst, Arkhum, and many more. However, those three bands among the masses have the distinct claim of being the product of the fraternal duo of Kenneth and Stephen Parker, who have also assisted plenty in, respectively, the production and recording/engineering for bands of similar ilk. Weaving their way around various styles of death metal and black metal, the Sinister Siblings have again summoned a new identity to codify their ideas of squealing, scuzzed out, star-splitting death metal: Paraphilia. The full-length debut The Memory of Death Given Form targets your inner caveman and inner sky-gazer with thick guitars and thicker skulls. But is that enough to satisfy the ever-dropping IQs of our death metal starved Rodeö staff? – Dolphin Whisperer

Paraphilia // The Memory of Death Given Form [April 7th, 2023]

Steel Druhm: Paraphilia are a dynamic death metal duo out of Oregon, and on their debut opus, The Memory of Death Given Form they’re out to put the Northwestern hammer down on disbelievers with an ugly sound that borrows from the old school, slam and tech camps. The brainchild of the Parker brothers, this is a blasting, pummeling affair, brutal even as it offers technical, mildly progressive ideas. There’s a heavy scent of New York-style brutal death lingering over the proceedings with Suffocation and Pyrexia being natural reference points. Mammoth chugs and phat grooves proliferate and speeds are generally fast and frantic. When the plan comes together you get ace face blasters like opener “Coruscation” where the only law is MOAR brutality and speed. The oppressive atmosphere here nurtures my ancient marrow but “Stelliferous Unmaking” is the real uncut gem, with a shambling mid-paced rumble that sounds massive and unstoppable. It’s got Bolt Thrower chugs and Jungle Rot wugs, and I need a gallon of this in my morning coffee. I’m also not mad at “Viral Entropy” which plows the poser fields with vicious blasting as interestingly proggy segues pop to the surface. That said, the writing isn’t consistent over its threadbare 33 minutes, which includes a throwaway cover of Bloodbath’s “Eaten.” The programmed drum sound is way too upfront, the production is loud as fook, and the songs tend to bleed together into a gory mulch. While there are good moments, the material feels partially uncooked and under-seasoned at times (like the title track). Shortcomings aside, there’s talent and potential here and I want to hear more from the Parker family. 2.5/5.0

Saunders: Oregon duo Paraphilia come out swinging on their tightly executed debut LP, The Memory of Death Given Form. Forget subtlety, these dudes are all about pummeling and bludgeoning the listener into a mushy pulp. Thirty-three minutes is all the time the destructive combo need to slam their point across. Drawing nostalgic influence from the famed ’90s Floridan and New York death metal scenes, jammed through a brutal death filter, complete with slam-infected grooves, Paraphilia deal in calculated brutality, technical proficiency, and a keen sense of groove to attract interest of brootal death fiends and enthusiasts of bands like the legendary Suffocation, Deeds of Flesh and Devourment. Paraphilia boasts chops and budding songwriting credentials, honing a tight mix of guttural swagger, nifty tempo swings and brutal death intensity on quality tunes such as “Stelliferous Unmaking” and “Supernal Rebuke.” The Memory of Death Given Form features bright moments and potential not quite fulfilled. Unfortunately, a heavily bricked production, serviceable but at times overbearing programmed drums, and shortage of truly gripping material mar the album’s more promising features. Also, the closing cover of Bloodbath classic “Eaten” is not bad but feels like an unnecessary add on. Wrinkles aside, I look forward to hearing how Paraphilia develops their sound. 2.5./5.0

Kentrosity: Those who know me understand that I like my death metal brutal, but also fun and bouncy. Bands like Abysmal Torment, Cytotoxin, Tomb Mold, Suffocation and the like are just a few examples of the kind that steal my attention quickly. With their debut slab of slammy, brutal and grimy death, entitled The Memory of Death Given Form, Portland’s Paraphilia earn their rightful place in that rotation. Opener “Coruscation” hits hard and fast with a grittier take on the kind of swagger Abysmal Torment is so good at. Paraphilia just do it filthier and uglier. “Stelliferous Unmaking” kicks up the slammy brutality even further but with a touch of melody, recalling the immense fun of Utter Scorn but with greater songwriting sophistication. Paraphilia’s greatest feat, however, is their juggling act tossing up a wide variety of deathly styles, achieving a sense of balance and cohesion rarefied in such cave-brained arenas (“Stelliferous Unmaking,” “Virial Entropy” and “Subernal Rebuke”). Were it not for a touch of song-by-song bloat (“The Memory of Death Given Form,” “Thanatical Imperative”) and a booming snare tone that make blast beats challenging to bear, The Memory of Death Given Form would’ve easily scored higher. Not bad at all for a debut! 3.0/5.0

Dear Hollow: I’ve seen lots of hype, heard lots of good reception, and I just had to hear it myself—and I was not disappointed. I may not be the scuzzy death connoisseur, but I know a good record when I hear it (just ask the Discord bitches) and Portland duo Paraphilia checks all the boxes with their debut full-length The Memory of Death Given Form. What can you expect? Expect a breed of Hate Eternal and Morbid Angel meeting Dyscarnate in a back alley for a knife fight while Devourment films it. Filthy curb-stomping groove is front and center, with enough flailing axework, razor-wire technicality, and formidable vocals to make a statement. You’ll find your brain pummeled by the grooves of “Coruscation” or “Thanatical Imperative” and the rabid blastbeats of “Stelliferous Unmaking” seared into your ears, while the slamming and technicality dichotomy of “Supernal Rebuke” and the title track will get your head bobbing. Granted, there are moments where the slams and runtimes get too self-indulgent (the end of “Coruscation” or the title track’s conclusion), the cover of Bloodbath’s “Eaten” feels largely unnecessary, and “Virial Entropy” doesn’t know what sound it attempts to convey with abrupt style changes throughout. Otherwise, Paraphilia has constructed a blaster of a death metal album, balancing groovy weight and cutthroat brutality for a listen as rambunctious as it is devastating. 3.0/5.0

Felagund: Paraphilia traffic in a highly recognizable wholly enjoyable form of death metal: a little grimy, with plenty of chug, a hint of slam and a dose of dissonance. They’re also an incredibly drum-driven group, with a master behind the kit who employs monstrous blasts and machine gun double bass to propel each song forward. This is the approach you’ll find on The Memory of Death Given Form, and it’s quite effective. Often, while the guitar is chugging away, it’s the high-in-the-mix percussion that powers and maintains the momentum. “Stelliferous Unmaking” is perhaps the best example of this interplay, but it occurs throughout the album’s run time and is both welcome and effective. Add in pig squeal vox and percussive gutturals, alongside driving drums over mid-paced, double-thicc riffs, and you can count me in. Where the album falls short, however, is in sheer memorability. There are solid riffs (see “The Memory of Death Given Form” and “Supernal Rebuke”), momentary atmospheric interludes (“Thanatical Imperative,” “Stelliferous Unmaking”) that add emotional heft, but the songs themselves tend to meld together into a single deathened monolith, something that’ll get you banging your head but is forgotten soon after. Album closer “Eaten,” a well-done Bloodbath cover, is equal parts enjoyable and frustrating, because there are hints of the kind of band Paraphilia could be. They cover a well-known song, but add their own touches, resulting in a cover that ends up revealing their true potential. To wit, a grimier, thicker, murkier, drum-driven version of Bloodbath. Unfortunately, that isn’t the record we got, but it’s the one I’m now looking forward to. 2.5/5.0

Dolphin Whisperer: In the vein of a band like Mithras who has absorbed the jagged and pummeling roots of Morbid Angel death metal in a brutal and modern fashion, Paraphilia tears neatly through the cosmic corridors of The Memory of Death Given Form. From the dark tremolo chug of “Coruscation” to the necrotic groove of the title track, Paraphilia riffs in worship of its influences. However, as a result, Memory can feel a bit familiar. But flourishes of higher caliber brutality through swinish scowls and gravity-bending leadwork help to add a flavor that brings Memory to the current landscape of high brow death metal pit-clobbering. Having been part of other olde-tinged products together already, the fraternal pairing of the brothers Parker in Paraphilia is too solid to fail—through the minimally altered cover of Bloodbath’s “Eaten” does little for me as the original is plenty potent on its own. The cover does fit in better to a more contemporary chug-filled playlist though in its heftier kick and generally loud fervor, and the same is true of all the iron-cored numbers arranged for the quick crush the album delivers. I can’t help but wonder what a more organic drumming experience would add to the already dexterous explorations of “Stelliferous Unmaking” or “Virial Entropy,” but as it stands Paraphilia still packs enough bite to draw blood—not a lifetime scar of pride, but a warning for what the twisted future holds. 3.0/5.0

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