Phlebotomized – Clouds Of Confusion

You are currently viewing Phlebotomized – Clouds Of Confusion

Year: 2023
Total Time: 47:00
Label: Hammerheart Records

Five years after their last full-length release, Dutch masters of Melodic Death Metal return with “Clouds Of Confusion” and prove -once again- that they are rightfully considered key-players of this genre. After all, PHLEBOTOMIZED were one of the first extreme metal bands to experiment with violins and keyboards in the early 00’s (1990-2000). These then unprecedented experimentations brought them to the spotlight as PHLEBOTOMIZED showed that they really know how to properly make use of such instruments in extreme metal. It should be noted that the band went on a hiatus in 1997 after releasing “Skycontact”, but then reunited in 2013 and have been going strong since then, of course with an almost entirely new line-up.

“Clouds Of Confusion” is one of those records that make sure to eliminate any kind of doubt regarding their quality from the first minutes. It is a record that brings the 90’s to the present day with complete success, thus satisfying both fans of the more old-school sound and of the more modern/melodic sound in Death Metal. The first half of the record moves in more intense and aggressive paterns with relatively short in duration songs while, in the second half, the songs are clearly longer and the atmospheric element and melodies dominate. What’s really interesting about “Clouds Of Confusion” is that  both sides coexist harmoniously throught its duration. This meaning, you will find aggressive elements in “Dawn Of Simplicity” and at the same time, you will find interesting melodies in “Alternate Universe”. It may sound simplistic, but it takes mastery to set up a record so thoughtfully so that it neither becomes monotonous nor boring.

Starting off with the excellent “Bury My Heart” and “Alternate Universe”, which seam to blend in one song actually, PHLEBOTOMIZED make it clear from the outset that “Clouds Of Confusion” is an utterly serious record.  Going on with the equally devastating “Desolate Wasteland” and “Destined To Be Killed”, with the latter unleashing Hell and setting the tone for the upcoming guitar solo massacre  that follows on “Pillar Of Fire”. PHLEBOTOMIZED do not miss a single opportunity on “Clouds Of Confusion” to show off their technical capabilities, but always minding the musicality and serving the general image of the record. The second half of the album starts with “Bury My Heart Reprise”, which an alternate version of the first song of “Clouds Of Confusion”. The next songs, as mentioned before, are longer in duration, yet without really bringing down the tempos. The atmospheric element takes on a slightly more dominant role and  makes the early PARADISE LOST influences evident. Reaching the ending of the album we have “Context Is For Kings (Stupidity And Mankind)”, which perfectly combines both aspects of “Clouds Of Confusion”, thus making it the ideal epilogue.

In short, PHLEBOTOMIZED’s new record is brilliant and dare I say, the best the Dutch have offered us so far. With elements ranging from Melodic Death Metal and Progressive to Avant-Garde and even Technical Death Metal, “Clouds Of Confusion” is able to satisfy a wide range of extreme metal fans. Keep in mind that the above review comes from someone who detests keyboards/synths in extreme metal.

Rating: 8/10
Editor: Vaggos “Arkouda” Katsis
Related Link: PHLEBOTOMIZED – Bandcamp Page

Leave a Reply