"The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair"

(Wraith Productions)

01. Satanicus Sabbathicus
02. Possessed by Death
03. Semen, Blood and Shit
04. Mors Aut L?bert?s
05. Pact with the Devil
06. The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair
07. Hell Spells and Satanic Rituals

RATING: 6.5/10

Based on the available evidence, one would think that the two musicians behind Fort Wayne, Indiana's PTAHIL make their permanent residence in the city sewers, merely braving the surface air and starry night when the time is ripe to dump their latest extreme metal discharge on the ol' record company's front stoop - in a brown paper bag?and on fire!

We say this, not because the duo's second full album, "The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair", is a steaming pile of shit, but because it literally sounds as though it is being piped directly through Hell's plumbing.

First song "Satanicus Sabbathicus" explodes out of the starting blocks rattling with so much fuzz one can't help but instinctively step back and begin dodging imaginary debris hurled by its intentionally heinous "production" - if the term can even be applied to such filth.

And just wait until the aptly named "Blood, Semen and Shit" rolls around, a little while later.

Backwards-masked incantations introduce second offering, "Possessed by Death", by which time listeners who survived PTAHIL's initial aural mud-slinging may already find themselves picking out the band's unexpectedly straightforward, even catchy, dirt-caked riffs and harmonies with relative ease. And by the time said song erupts into devastating blackened thrash, then extended dynamic variations, heck, everyone will be banging back shots at the bar like old friends to the hoof-snapping B.M. familiarity of "Mors Aut L?bert?s".

Or under the bar, more fittingly, since PTAHIL never once forgoes the rancid grime described above on its subsequent satanic slobberings, even when, against all odds, they unleash a few intriguing (if not exactly pleasant; there's nothing "pleasant" about any of this) surprises ? like the trippy psych-synth effect wafting pungently from the plainly named "Pact with the Devil" or the lengthy melodic roundabout virtually lost amid the twelve-minute title track's apocalyptic, everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink musical Ragnarok.

When all is said and done, however, one is pretty certain that the bulk of this album's appeal lies with the challenge of negotiating all of that crust and grime, rather than the actual uniqueness of the songs they conceal; but by then, PTAHIL has captured your attention, haven't they?

Then it's up to the individual listener to decide whether to run like hell or follow the band back to the sewers from whence they came?under the spell of "The Almighty Propagator of Doom and Despair"


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