"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Phazm - "Cornerstone of the Macabre" (CD)

Phazm - "Cornerstone of the Macabre" CD cover image

"Cornerstone of the Macabre" track listing:

1. Love me Rotten (Love me True)
2. The Worm on the Hook
3. Damnation
4. Strange Song
5. Welcome to my Funeral
6. The Old of the Meat
7. Mucho Mojo
8. The End
9. Necrophiliac
10. Damage Inc.
11. Adrift

Reviewed by on August 2, 2009

"Let’s take a trip to the macabre and see what it has to offer; three Frenchmen can't be wrong."

Phazm calls their music genre “Death n’ Roll,” and that’s a perfect name for it. “Cornerstone of the Macabre” is an eclectic meld of genres; some that are metal and some that are far from it. No one could get bored listening to the album because there’s too many twists and turns to keep you interested. Not to mention the incredibly interesting cover art that boasts three hooded figures smoking from a hookah surrounded by seven suited skeletons all on top of a pile of skulls. Let’s take a trip to the macabre and see what it has to offer; three Frenchmen can't be wrong. I believe the best way to describe this album is song by song.

1. “Love me Rotten (Love me True)” starts off with a techno/disco drum beat. The guitars are oh-so rock n’ roll including the clean guitar solo.
2. The second song “The Worm on the Hook” is a different story if the previous one turned you off. This is a fuzzy bass under psychedelic rhythms that you remember from the original Black Sabbath. Pierrick's vocals are much like that in Rammstein, low-spoken and well paced.
3. Mahx's fuzzy bass remains in “Damnation,” but the rest of the instruments play a rockabilly beat. You might need to look that one up if you’re not from where I’m from. The vocals are growled this time and are more aggressive and less menacing.
4. “Strange Song” is a bit strange, but anything goes here apparently. It is a slow acoustic song with bongos and country-sounding guitar chords. A piano joins eventually. It still sounds pretty good, though.
5. “Welcome to my Funeral” sounds suspiciously like Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to my Nightmare” in title and song. It’s slow and psychedelic. The vocals are low and crooned. During the bridge, a harmonica plays scarily. I would say it’s a tribute to the Alice’s song from so long ago, but it’s a great song no matter what.
6. Finally some hard ass rock n’ roll. The vocals are strained and scratchy. The guitars are a fast-paced freight train. The drums are even more fast paced. You may think that Slash had a guest spot somewhere in here, but you’ll have to listen to find out where.
7. “Mucho Mojo” must be an ode to the Southwest. The song begins with country electric guitar. It is also very rockabilly like “Damnation.” There are hints of Link Wray in the guitars wails.
8. This song is for you metal purists. “The End” sees Gorgor playing double bass drums. The European definitely comes out with the special bouncy rhythm the Euros have.
9. “Necrohiliac” is psychedelic and death metal rolled together. There are hardcore inspired moments when there are chorus vocals.
10. Whammy bars galore in the beginning of “Damage Inc.” They escalate gracefully in what seems to be an ode to power metal. The rhythm is that of a marching army; very steadily paced. It also has elements of thrash.
11. Death Metal. ‘Nuff said.

There you have it. “Cornerstone of the Macabre” by Phazm is just crazy. In a good way though. It’s very diverse and entertaining. Something to make you wonder what’s in these guys’ record collections. I can’t imagine how their live show is, but I’d love to find out.

Highs: Ecclectic and diverse mixture of music never gets boring.

Lows: It's so diverse it's mind-boggling.

Bottom line: Great listen for something different and one-of-a-kind.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)