Artist: My Home, The Catacombs
Album: Phobias – EP
For the most part, the things that truly terrify people are far-fetched objects, instances and obstacles that play no major role in their day-to-day lives. Don’t like heights? Don’t visit the Grand Canyon. Don’t care for snakes? Don’t go the zoo—or at least don’t visit the reptile house. In this manner, avoiding things that truly fill you with paralyzing, petrifying fear is a relatively simple feat. But what happens when your fears pursue you? When no matter how hard you try to run from your demons, they are always on your heels, constantly lingering in the back of your mind—that is a true Phobia, and is expertly crafted in the hauntingly heavy and energetic EP by Toronto terrifiers, My Home, The Catacombs. Phobias is a remarkable display of ruthlessness, imaginatively blending tedious technicality with brute force and raw aggression, creating a release that is hectic enough to haunt the listener in their sleep, and devilishly catch enough to stay lodged in their brain for eons to come.
Phobias is an instrumental hellcat that borrows elements from devastating technical deathcore and poignant, punishing metalcore to create a a diverse display of dynamic heaviness that is unlike anything the listener has heard to date. Percussionist Yoda Perron is forceful and furious throughout the entirety of the release—never ceasing his energetic assault on the listener. “Huntress” is a hurried example of his extraordinary proficiency with punchy, blunt patterns that favor quick, crushing footwork. Meanwhile, “Misery-Tragedy” is a monstrous amalgam of flashy fills and fleet feet that make it challenging for the listener to keep up—which makes the bouncy riffs from bassist Dylan Gould even more impressive. As My Home, The Catacombs’ resident groovesmith, Gould coats every grimy smack of the kick drum and looming tom thud with a thick layer of acrid, aggressive sludge. Tracks like the raunchy “Huntress” showcase Gould’s ability to bounce and boom with the best of them—while “A Bastard Born in Bethlehem” is a righteous display of ruthless aggression on all fronts. The most surprising element of Phobias’ instrumentation, however, stems from sole source of the band’s viciously technical fretwork—Liam Beeson. Beeson is a beast throughout the entirety of the EP, weaving together high-strung riffs that would make Within the Ruins blush with catchy, crushing grooves that would set Structures shaking in their boots. Those familiar with the band’s previous material are undoubtedly aware of Beeson’s talent. Doing with one guitarist what most bands would need three to mimic, My Home, The Catacombs’ “Huntress,” as well as the haunting, emotional anthem “Sincerely” are forced to be feared—if not for the raunchy bass grooves and steamrolling percussion, for Beeson’s lacerating, lurid guitar skills.
Possessive of a truly tremendous instrumental dynamic, My Home, The Catacombs’ musicianship is a masterful vector for the source of Phobias’ most murderous and aggressive aspect—their vocals. Formed by the efforts of frontmen Larry Airapetian and Nico Monette, My Home, The Catacombs feature a dual-throated hydra of hectic and hellacious vocals that will shear the listener’s ears clean off of their heads and pull the sanity from their shattered skull. Airapetian and Monette play so well off of one another that it can be almost impossible to tell where one begins and another ends. “Huntress” sees them engaging in a back-and-forth dialogue with a relatively clear division between low, grisly growls and shrieking high screams. However, as the album wears on, the duo continue chipping away at the listener’s attention span, playing games with their sanity. Even at the end of “Huntress,” as Beeson’s fretboard lights ablaze with a lacerating, sharp riff, the spaces between the two vocalists’ oscillating shouts and screams grows cramped. While either vocalist might not be the next Phil Bozeman or Luke Griffin, they redefine the “dual vocalist” dynamic for all of heavy music. Aligning themselves with the subtle brilliance of Vilis’ multi-vocalist approach, Airapetian and Monette are tremendously talented not simply at screaming, but at working together to create an immersive experience for the listener.
Whether it’s the varied and viciously intense instrumental canvas, or the one-of-a-kind dual vocal onslaught, My Home, The Catacombs’ Phobias stands alone. “Misery-Tragedy” is a marvel of malicious energy and riveting heaviness, while “Sincerely” is a head-rush that smashes atmosphere and emotion into fury and ferocity with the listener smack-dab in the middle. Throughout the release, this Canadian quintet toy with heaviness and brutality, getting their feet wet during the climax to “Huntress” and “Misery-Tragedy,” but spare the listener from full evisceration—until the closing minute of “A Bastard Born in Bethlehem.” Here, My Home, The Catacombs pull out every stop they have, letting off a tactical nuke that reduces the listener—and anyone else (un)fortunate enough to hear it—to dust.
If you’ve spent your life claiming you aren’t afraid of anything, or have no phobias, then you haven’t heard of My Home, The Catacombs. This talented Toronto act will put the true definition of horror in front of you and force you to look it in the eye, until no matter what you do or where you are, Phobias is all you can think of.
For Fans Of: Structures, Within the Ruins, Vilis, Being
By: Connor Welsh