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Ptahil - "The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair" (CD)

Ptahil - "The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair" CD cover image

"The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair" track listing:

1. Satanicus Sabbathicus (4:02)
2. Possessed by Death (7:20)
3. Semen, Blood and Shit (4:23)
4. Mors Aut Libertas (4:32)
5. Pact with the Devil (7:01)
6. The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair (12:55)
7. Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals (2:24)

Reviewed by on January 21, 2013

"As long as one doesn’t mind low-grade production values, 'The Almighty Propagator Of Doom And Despair' is a good fix for those into the morbid side of metal."

Ptahil’s debut album “For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory” oozed wicked charm with its doomy take on death/black metal. The duo from Fort Wayne, Indiana mingled with the occult and did a slow dance with the almighty Satan, and that relationship blossoms on the new album “The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair.” As if their sound couldn’t get seedier, Ptahil goes minimalistic on the production, with a fuzziness that has an early ‘90s black metal flavor. As long as one doesn’t mind low-grade production values, “The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair” is a good fix for those into the morbid side of metal.

The band hardly strays from the musical roots established on the first album, with the band’s wicked death/black coexisting with a gloomy atmosphere supplied by a slow pace. While this was usually contained to four or so minutes per song on the last record, Phatil dodges that template here and decides to expand their songs into lengths more reserved for traditional doom bands. A doozy of a 13-minute title track is one of the notable selling points. It all leads to a record that trades in feasible digestion for a more adventurous direction.

The problem with Ptahil’s style is that they are a very straightforward group, as far as instrumentation goes. The band doesn’t toy around with crazy leads or anything grandiose, so for songs to go as long as double digits, it requires either many tempo changes or some depth to the riffage. For the most part, those two are missing from these songs. “Possessed by Death” has what is commonly referenced to as “St. Anger” syndrome; extending a song way past its point of worth. “Pact with the Devil” is not as drawn-out, though a minute or two could have been trimmed.

Things fall nicely into position with songs like opener “Satanicus Sabbathicus,” where the band can play around with controlled tempos within a respectable time period. The moments where the band drops its doomy side for an extended bout of uncoordinated bashing count as some of the bright spots. “Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals” is a perfect fit following the lengthy title track, a two-minute finish that is as ruthless as the band gets. “Mors Aut Libertas” is a later favorite, almost getting lost in the fuzz, but providing some much-warranted energy back into the proceedings.

Like “For His Satanic Majesty’s Glory,” “The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair” is a grower. There isn’t much immediate about these seven songs, and the band makes it harder with a song as dense as the title track. The longer tracks don’t pan out as well as the band probably would have hoped, as they rely on repetition, odd noisy interludes, and aimless shuffling to stretch the tracks out. Ptahil comes alive with compact cuts like “Mors Aut Libertas,” and these are the real appeal of “The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair.”

Highs: Ptahil is as evil as metal gets, shorter songs provide a burst of energy, a touch more depth to their songwriting this time around

Lows: A few songs are too long for their own good, production is very raw, not as sharp as the first album

Bottom line: A rougher production and longer songs makes for a less stimulating record than Ptahil's debut album.

Rated 3.0 out of 5 skulls
3.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)