"Really taking in all of Bluenothing’s pungently putrid stylings is enough to make your hair stand on end. The elements are all there: consummate guitar work, stamping drums that press your head beneath the surface of slime, curdling vocals, and atmosphere that conjures combating senses of danger and wonder that pull at the fibers of your being like an existential tug-of-war. Do you explore the depths laid before you, or retreat into what little crevice of safety you can dig yourself into and hope for respite? This is the dilemma that Worm face you with. Either way, you’re lost in their world and at their mercy - you might as well make the best of it." - Lambgoat
"One look at this release’s artwork should be hint enough that the mood has shifted: lightning cracks a luminous night sky as robed figures descend stone stairs on unknown errands–we are well beyond the clamour of the swamp. What does this mean for the music? The biggest consideration here is that this mini album sees the band add a further guitar into the mix, played by Phil "Wroth Septentrion" Tougas (also Atramentus, VoidCeremony, Chthe-ilist, Hulder [live]). With existing band members capably delivering the low end gloom and hiss they are known for, Wroth Septentrion is free to investigate higher registers and cast light into the dark with graceful solos, a natural evolution hinted at in the prior lineup's earlier songs such as "Murk Above the Dark Moor." Wroth Septentrion's presence also emboldens the band's organ work, and they take it further than ever before, planting it deeply in these compositions; in its best moments Bluenothing sees these elements working in concert, launching into the air, coiled around Phantom Slaughter's clearest vocal delivery yet." - Invisible Oranges
"Worm have already shaken the foundations of extreme metal with albums like Gloomlord (2020), Foreverglade, and now with Bluenothing, the collective cast their own veil of darkness over the earth and brought audial tribulations to the children of men. The death doom, gothic overtures, dungeon synth and symphonic black metal elements combine into a black soul gem of beautiful yet evil elegies that end one chapter of the grimoire and turn to another. This is the type of music to soundtrack Hermaeus Mora’s next dinner party or the next acid trip you have while watching the waves as seabirds fly overhead. Worm have proven that with Bluemothing they are the rightful heirs to the prophetic throne of ivory and they have now revealed their darkest secret: the cosmic keys to their creations and times.." - Heaviest of Art
"Everything on Bluenothing sounds terrific. The vocals are a little low in the mix but I personally find that it adds to the atmosphere and lets them be a player and not the star. The dynamics of these songs like the second track, “Centuries of Ooze II” is what makes this thing tick. Bombastic organs, heavy guitars, more and more solos, and the choral vocals framing the whole thing give this song added weight. Remember when I said that no one sounded like Worm? Well, that’s still certainly the case. I’m not sure there is a metal act quite as distinct right now.raft and that Gloire Éternelle is a unique but cohesive album that raises the bar in the technical death metal genre. " - Everything is Noise
"Releases such as this are rarely worthwhile, but Bluenothing serves Worm well as an opportunity to lay the ghosts of Foreverglade to rest while offering a glimpse at the band's future, which is shaping up to perhaps be more grandiose than before. The inclusion of Tougas to the band's fold is a revelation, and a broader set of influences might make Worm a household name in this corner of the genre by the time the next full-length comes our way.." -Haevy Blog Is Heavy
""Worm continue to showcase why they’re a growing name in extreme metal and why, with every release that follows suit, their work is garnering cult status with universal acceptance." - The Razor's edge
"Mais il faut que la communauté Metal se rende compte d’une chose : c’est que les gars de First Fragment ont complètement détruit le game, que ce soit celui du Tech Death ou du Metal Néoclassique. En d’autres termes, ils n’ont pas seulement repoussé les limites des genres dans lesquels ils évoluent, ils les ont complètement explosées. " - Metal Sound Media
"Of course, despite still existing in the tech death realm, First Fragment have actually moved beyond such a simple appellation at this point; Gloire Éternelle is a wonderfully complex and expressive neoclassical extreme metal album, with a wider range than that of your average tech death release." - Wonderbox Metal
"It’s probably not the best idea to kick things off by making an outlandish claim concerning First Fragment guitarist Phil Tougas being a shadowy villain bent on provoking fledgling guitarists to heave their instruments out the window, but it wouldn’t be terribly shocking to discover he’s to blame for at least a quarter of the guitars launched into the Yamaha Pacifica Landfill that’s currently visible from space. Yes, of course complex play such as what’s heard on this recording can and most certainly does inspire humans the same way venerable vets such as Vinnie Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, Greg Howe and countless others encouraged emerging guitarists to hone their chops to the next level, Tougas himself included, but a record like Gloire Éternelle really does find a higher gear wholly unfamiliar to vehicles built on this Earth." - Your Last Rites
"Obviously tech death is flush with prodigies – but there is a difference between musicians who can play well and musicians who can play well together. First Fragment has stylistic and tonal range that a lot of other bands in this field sorely lack, and the richness of Gloire Éternelle reflects palpable musical symbiosis. - Metalstorm.net
"In the five years since their critically-acclaimed debut, Daesin, First Fragment have perfected their unique sound, expertly demonstrated on their latest offering, Gloire Éternelle. First Fragment is a bit of an anomaly, having melded tech death with not only flamenco and neoclassical influences, but also with 80s hair metal vibes and a little bit of funk. Regardless, there is no question that each of these musicians is a master of his craft and that Gloire Éternelle is a unique but cohesive album that raises the bar in the technical death metal genre. " - MetalEpidemic.com
"Une heure dix de virtuosité, voilà ce que nous propose Gloire Éternelle." - Coreandco.fr
"First Fragment délivre certainement l’un des albums extrêmes les plus techniques et qualitatifs de la décennie (à corriger au prochain opus), guitare mais aussi basse (ce bestiau) et batterie incluses. Gloire Éternelle demeure un pur bonheur musical. Chaque nouvelle écoute vous fera encore plus apprécier la galette, vous commencerez à décoder et à comprendre l’algorithme fou de composition. Gloire à eux." - thrashocore.com
""This remind me when i was a kid spending all the evenings listening to "Made In Japan", waiting for the instrumental duels between Blackmore & Lord. Other time, other genres, other contexts... but the same passion for music, the same desire to go beyond limits. Gloire Eternelle" is a record for music lovers, for exhibitionist of the right note at the right place, for servants of the non-trivial & non-obvious" - Rateyourmusic.com
"Yes, with a single record that almost never came to light, ATRAMENTUS have firmly placed themselves into the funeral doom pantheon as masters of the funereal craft. Stygian is a monument to suffering in a year where the entire planet has had not a single pumping of the brakes in terms of tragedy. No other record this year will quite capture the pure, undying dread we have a experienced as a world community like Stygian has" - https://www.heaviestofart.com/
"20 Buck Spin have found themselves an honest to God masterpiece, one that I feel I could listen to every single day until they release something new and I still wouldn’t find myself dulled by it. Stygian is deserving of every praise and commendation it receives for it is as cathartic as it is soul crushing, as triumphant as it is nihilistic, as despairing as it is inviting salvation. An incredible experience that I won’t forget any time soon and a record I’ll be sure to play over and over again even if to just make that final track worth it. Stygian takes you under its wing and never lets go until it finally does, and you feel the freedom that was likely there all along but never realised you had. The new zenith of Funeral Doom." - https://themetaloneaboveall.tumblr.com/ - 10/10
"As I listened to the album, I realized that it is more than a harrowing story of unending death and survival but it is also a personal reflection to each of us. We don’t know the nameless knight but we can identity with him and his personal struggles. After all, each of us will, at some point, experience death as well. We will watch loved ones, family and friends, die before our own time is up. As we wait for our own perpetual blackness, we too will be left with our thoughts and cry out for what we have lost. Fortunately, we don’t live forever unlike the nameless knight but while we are alive, the pain of our existence never really ends. ATRAMENTUS’ “Stygian” is one hell of an album to make me think of such deep thoughts and confront my own mortality and pain. The emotional impact this album can bring is universal to most humans on the planet. Unfortunately, most humans don’t listen to doom metal bur for those lucky few, this album will take you on a journey to the heart of oblivion and leave you shivering to your core.". - http://www.metal-temple.com/ - 9/10
"Towards epic heights they have filled their music with majestic soundscapes and beautiful sonic ornaments so that the listener would find solace. These Canadians have emerged as true torchbearers that make their music a true counterpart of nineties classics such as Skepticism‘s debut album ‘Stormcrowfleet‘ and Thergothon‘s ‘Stream from the Heavens‘. Therefore, ‘Stygian‘ shines like a gleaming star on a moonless night. The debut voyages through an epic and gloomy realm, making each moment of its length a worthy listen to the fans of this sub-genre." - https://www.grimmgent.com/ - 8.8/10
"Absolutely monumental, Stygian will be an album that stands the test of time and will surely elevate the band to a seat at the table of the often maligned, often misunderstood and wholly unappreciated sub-genre. Perhaps with their debut they can encourage more to delve into the bleak corridors of unknowing funeral doom inhabits. Either way, Stygian itself, is an essential listen this year. -https://www.echoesanddust.com/
"The image of an ancient warrior left in the aftermath of a barren, hopeless planet once called Earth is facing the fathomless and faceless ghosts of the past as he himself cannot die in a world where the sun has gone supernova has extinguished all of what once lived there. A desolate realm of where one has immortality gifted by the universal creator only to be suspended in perpetual freezing agony never able to be free of his constant pain. Forever suffering. “Stygian” may just as well be the ultimate expression of how the year of 2020 has been for everyone: long, agonizing, and a world without end. This album is catharsis." -https://esotericacodex.wordpress.com/
"Unyielding’ harks back to the glorious days of power metal evolution with bands such as Helloween, Running Wild and Gamma Ray, with screeching guitars, screaming vocals and fast paced foot on the monitor style catchy sing a long able choruses. The power metal scene in Germany has been a stronghold since the early eighties and with the likes of Eternity’s End, will continue to be for many years to come." - MetalGodsTV - 10/10
"(...)The way all the leads mingle with what LePond and Grossman bring to the table (bassists and drummers will find plenty to chew on here as well), and the way it all does so within so many slants of heaviness—speed, thrash, power, hard rock, traditional, neoclassical—make the whole of Unyielding sound very much like a modernized version of what Shrapnel would’ve killed to sign back in the day. Hell, the band’s Force even manages to challenge the Rise of classic Yngwie on cuts such as “Beyond the Gates of Salvation,” “Cyclopean Force,” and “Under Crimson Moonlight,” and that’s coming from someone who continues to hold Marching Out in extremely high regard". - Yourlastrites - 10/10
"Tales say sophomore albums are meant to suck. But ETERNITY’S END wants none of that. After the monumental debut release, they have unleashed forth another great material that will surely turn heads and gather lots of positive feedback – and it’s not difficult to know why. “Unyielding” is simply power metal at its finest." - Metal Temple - 10/10
"Unyielding takes the quality of intricacies and free flowing musicianship up tenfold – always keeping melodies and hooks top of mind to yield an incredible final product.
Neoclassical strains permeate much of the instrumental set-ups and transitions during the title track and “Under Crimson Moonlight” – the type that Shrapnel players like Vinnie Moore and Tony MacAlpine spit forth in the 80’s/90’s, with Christian, fellow guitarist Phil Tougas and keyboardist Jimmy Pitts filling the music landscape with tight, wow-factor main riffs and killer speed notations." - deadrhetoric - 9.5/10
"Production-wise the record is flawless, with Tougas at the production helm and legend Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) co-producing, mixing, engineering and mastering the sound, which is always a great thing (...) Ace execution, impressive songwriting and passionate playing are what make ‘Unyielding’ a monster of an album, and worthy of every respect and praise". - MetalWani - 9/10
"That’s when it hits you that you’re listening to not one but two of the best guitarists out there today, with one of best the keyboard players added on to just for fun. And that’s the thing about Unyielding; it’s a super group to end super groups (...) It’s unlikely anything will match this release in the genre, both in ambition and in execution."
"(...)All I have to say is that it’s material that could had easily qualify them as a Shrapnel Records band back in the 80’s (especially the second half of the album). I think you get the point. It’s a pity that albums such as this come out a few days before New Year’s, a period in time where everyone in the music business tends to unwind. If you’re into bands like YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, VINNIE MOORE, SYMPHONY X, CACOPHONY, RACER X, DOFKA, etc. don’t miss this one." - The Forgotten Scroll
"Chthe'ilist's wildly imaginative debut album is well worth the time to either sit down and take in as a story or to blare through speakers and scare the neighbors. The Canadian duo, turned trio, have expanded on their demo and ripped off the tag of "worship band". Instead, they funnel Finnish and Swedish death metal from the late eighties and early nineties into their terrifying concoction" - Metal Injection - 9/10
"Le dernier crépuscule is often as explosive sounding as it is esoteric in its will to compound pore-clogging atmosphere with bewildering gonzo technicality. The result is pure nightmare fodder, ideal for the creatures of Midian or for all those nasties that lurked about the underground with Howie Mandel. Chthe’ilist have created a memorable first outing, charming yet repugnant, complex yet barbaric, an album plashed with groove, stunning density, and ample doses of one quality sorely lacking in today’s metal landscape—character." - Metalobserver - 9/10
"Que ce soit dans les solos évoqués dans le paragraphe précédent (cette fameuse puissance évocatrice) ou bien dans cette utilisation qui est faite des synthétiseurs, Chthe’ilist réussi très vite à nous catapulter dans son univers opaque et étrange dépeint par Paolo Girardi et dans lequel on imagine très bien voir régner quantité de monstres inquiétants, difformes et tentaculaires inspirés par un certain bestiaire lovecraftien". - Thrashocore Magazine -9/10
It all comes down to how perfect Le Dernier Crépuscule comes together as a whole. 2015 was an absolutely immense year for death metal. Originality and boundary pushing were met with equally impressive throw backs and retro resurgences. Yet few, if any, bands felt as fully realized as Chthe'ilist. It's what everyone thought Cruciamentum were, or wanted Triumvir Foul to become. The dark griminess works well with the themes. The production is absolutely sublime. Then of course, is the bass, which is so ***ing delicious throughout that it is worth spinning the album ad nauseum. All of these components come together so well, presenting a complete masterwork of modern death metal than Chthe'ilist's peers could only hope to achieve. - Sputnikmusic - 4/5
"The album's tight, high-minded complexity is firmly balanced by big, fat death metal grooves, innovative bass work (see "The Voices from Beneath the Well" especially), and a damp, sepulchral atmosphere. The aural nightmare is further complemented by band leader Philippe Tougas' dry rasps, wet, reptilian gurgles, and colorful tales of eldritch horror; like Immortal, Chthe'ilist has created its own fantasy realm to run wild within, but Eil’udom's malevolent gloom feels far more sinister than Blashyrkh's pristine snow drifts.- Vice Magazine -
"(...)This isn’t an album you wrap your mind around; it’s an album that wraps around you, and takes your cognizance far off course – beyond all that is tangible." - CvltNation -
"The atmospheric climate of this album is so unwelcome… it is truly like none other I’ve ever heard. The watery vocal approach here is pretty fresh sounding and downright horrifying… dude sounds like a formless being from beyond our limited human comprehension. Just as he should. The bizarro alien trilled growls are fucking putrid, there’s simply nothing like it! Le dernier crépuscule puts any other musical tributes to the tentacled one that I can think of to shame…" -Trevor Strnad, The Black Dahlia Murder
"Make no mistake, it is the minute differences that separate this EP from one of the best albums in years. We’re apparently some time away from Chthe'ilist’s sophomore record, but Passage into the Xexanotth is ample proof that it should be one of the most highly anticipated metal records. Until then, this EP is mandatory listening." - Metal Injection - 9.5/10
"The second track comes in the form of a cover track from the 1991 ‘Wrath From the Unknown’ demo by Crematory.. Chthe’ilist interpret the second track “Beneath the Crypts” with greater intensity and their own beguiling knack for croaking, twisted death metal. It is a brilliant treatment and nearly as exciting as the title track.Xexanotth is the bane of the time god, the Great Old One Aforgomon, and can only be reached through defilement of an altar to his enemy with one’s own blood. I can only posit that Chthe’ilist performed such rites, or at least some very hard and careful work, in achieving their sound. This wild, otherworldly sound reaches back to a very obscure space in the past and rips forth some new and exciting darkness. I’m sure another full-length will be in the mix soon, but this EP is well worth the ten minutes it takes to absorb." - Grizzlybutts - 4/5
"Written even before Le Dernier Crépuscule, the titular ‘Passage into Xexanotth’ sounds like it could easily be slotted into the band’s lone full length. It contains everything you love about Chthe’ilist, from the frog vocals to bouncy, Seinfeld bass to the brilliant and creative leads (the Iommi-esque doubled up, slightly staggered solos are especially inspired). The other half of this EP is a cover of Crematory’s (the good Swedish one, not the German one trying to guilt you into buying tickets) “Beneath the Crypts.” I’m not gonna lie, I like it more than the original version. Chthe’ilist have taken it, cleaned it off and beefed it up." - ToiletOvHell -
"I think it's safe to say that Phil will be a major force in modern death metal for the foreseeable future. "Passage into Xexanotth" is the only original song here and it kicks just as much ass as Chthe'ilist does on the full length. You have the same twisted, groove-infested riffage, frantic drumming and the best slap bass in death metal this side of None So Vile. "Passage" keeps the hellish bizzaro vibes going, and this would make a great soundtrack to reading cosmic horror" - MetalArchives - 88/100
"Dasein absolutely earns a place amongst the best modern techdeath releases and deserves all the credit it gets. The tracks flow seamlessly with gorgeous melodies dominating the record. The band has unleashed an undeniably monstrous album that grabs you right from the start and never lets go--a true, full-on sonic assault led by some of the best musicians in the modern scene." - Sputnikmusic - 5/5
"Death metal fans that have been keeping up with releases this year have to be thinking to themselves, “Is 2016 the year of Pat Tougas?” First he struck with Chthe’ilist, then Zealotry, and now First Fragment. Talk about being on a roll! (...)A technical death metal album that is downright pleasant on the ears, look to First Fragment to be seen in the same sentence as genre leaders like Gorod and Beyond Creation once the world is fully exposed to Dasein. It’s an album that you could sit around and dissect the riffs, leads, and structures to the nth degree, but it’s just as easy to enjoy the experience.." - deadrhetoric - 9,5/10
"Dasein is an album that could easily be pointed at as an archetypal technical death metal album. Basically a love letter to the genre, it’s infectiously memorable and groovy. Fans of the genre can find much to appreciate here, and it would serve as an excellent starting point for those looking to delve deeper as well. First Fragment have knocked it out of the park with their debut album, and shown yet again that there is something special about French Canada that leads to excellent tech death that is a must-listen." Heavyblogisheavy - 4,5/5
"I’d like to begin this review by discussing the gigantic fucking roll that French-Canadian guitarist Phillipe Tougas is currently on. Starting with last year’s release from Serocs, he has played on three downright kickass albums, all favorably reviewed on this very website. His work with Zealotry gained my notoriously stingy tech/prog-death approval, and his bizarre Timeghouland Demilich-inspired project Chthe’ilist is almost certainly going to make the Kronos year-end list. Dasein‘s incessant shredding and neoclassical flair set it apart form a North American tech-death scene that’s often too preoccupied with aliens and clean production to write inventive, progressive albums and seat the band rather comfortably next to European acts like Spawn of Posession and Gorod." - Angrymetalguy - 4/5
"To me, this is that rare modern classic that people will be talking about for awhile. So jam this madness below and try to disagree with me that this isn't a damn impressive death metal record! It's records like Dasein that raise the bar for tech-death as a whole, since we all know this outclasses the vast majority of their peers."
"Dasein, the debut album from Quebec’s First Fragment, is punishingly fast and overwhelmingly technical. It is, more than anything else, a monument to shred. Even so, First Fragment never falls prey to the common pitfalls of the style, because where tech death often feels sterile and academic, Dasein is playful, curious, and exuberant. Special mention has to go to First Fragment’s lead guitarist, Phil Tougas. If it wasn’t enough to sit back and marvel at the buoyancy of his playing throughout, consider that Dasein is the third exemplary death metal album he has played on this year, rounding out one hell of a breakout year on Chthe’ilist‘s Le Dernier Crepuscule and Zealotry‘s The Last Witness. (And he’s only 24! Sweet potato-peeling Persephone, that’s incredible.)" - yourlastrigtes -
"This EP is a rare gem in my eyes, an excellent example of technical death metal, with solos and riffs that can both impress the grumpiest music nerd while wrenching your heart out with classical melodies" - Heavyblogisheavy.com (5/5)
"Et c'est là que First Fragment subjugue : si les points à améliorer portent sur des détails, c'est que leurs compositions sont de la qualité de leurs influences, proches de l'aboutissement dans l'un des genres les plus exigeants et compliqués du metal extrême : de très loin le meilleur premier jet de l'histoire du style. Un exploit incroyable de la part de musiciens aussi jeunes qui nous fera suivre d'un œil très attentif la carrière des Canadien" - Thrashocore Zine (4,75/5)
"The Quebec scene of technical death metal has proven a force to be reckoned with with the release of the extremely well-received "The Aura" by Beyond Creation. But it turns out that the area hid at least one more utterly amazing outfit in its shadows. Why didn't First Fragment's album "The Afterthought Ecstasy", released one year earlier, make such a big boom, unlike "The Aura"" I wonder, I really do (...) But this album is something else, something different. It actually has stuff that not even "The Aura" has. Pianos, acoustic passages, and neo classical shred solos. And the band's sense of melody is also different than Beyond Creation's. I highly recommend this album to anyone who enjoys tech death spiced up with lots of progressive, acoustic and neo-classical influences. The latter, I should mention, are not utilized like in Necrophagist, where a neo-classical solo follows a purely technical verse, but rather intertwined into the very essence of the composition. Everything in this album flows with perfect smoothness, and there is absolutely no time for boredom."
- Sputnikmusic.com (4,5/5)
"Easily the year’s finest death metal release so far, At The Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds continues Zealotry’s practice of refreshingly contemporary death metal that at once defies the shadow of traditional expectations and standardized modern practices yet manages to find a path beyond both, citing from all manner of tradition and experimentation. Never does it lose sight of its own powerful vision; its influences run the gamut from the genre’s early 90’s landmarks to the intimidating avant-garde realms of prog yet integrated so smoothly as to be almost unnoticeable at first." -ToiletofHell.com (4,5/5)
"ZEALOTRY don’t play traditional Death Metal, there is something very progressive about the riffs and song structures. The riffs are angular, dissonant, often we hear almost bizarre intertwining guitar leads or bass lines. The riffs flow into each other and create an ebb and flow that move the music forward. The album is an incremental step up in terms of production and the sophistication of arrangements. This band is definitely one of the top bands playing forward-thinking dissonant Death Metal out there." -metal-temple.com (4/5)
"In an attempt to bridge the gap between the old-school traditional death metal and modern progressive death metal, the Boston-based act has managed to carve a very unique sound for themselves, crafting an amalgamation that respects all the varied influences but follows its own unique path. The end result, At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds, has something to offer for every death metal fan. From neck-breaking riffs to drooly complex licks and even a fine share of atmospheric moments, Zealotry manage to bring just about everything to the table. There obviously is a clear vision in terms of the band’s sound, and At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds manages to put it across in the best way possible. Not only is this the most cohesive and balanced album by Zealotry to date, it might just be one of the best death metal albums of the year. And in 2018, that is a big statement to make. - everythingisnoise.net
"More broadly, the past three-to-five years have exhibited as much technical and songwriting prowess in the genre to rival its heyday in the early nineties. It’s been a good time to be a death metal fan as of late, and may the ever-flowing stream of premium music never cease. Boston’s death metal wizards Zealotry have been in the thick of this revivalist movement since they released their first demo back in 2009. Their first two full-length records, The Charnel Expanse and The Last Witness, were close-to-perfect slabs of technical, atmosphere-drenched old school death metal that cemented their reputation as one of the genre’s most talent-filled acts. Their latest record, At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds, does nothing to diminish their reputation as death metal riff lords. In fact, it instead serves as the vehicle for the band’s most cohesive and intricate songwriting and musicianship yet." -heavyblogisheavy.com
"Sit down for this one. Not recommended while driving operating heavy machinery. Such is the density and gravitational pull of this hugely complex and technical release of Zealotry’s latest, At The Nexus Of Stillborn Worlds. This album is already sonically a multi-tentacled space horror but, like creatures beyond our comprehension, all we can do is to stare and listen, transfixed." - pinnaclemusic.org
"Aside from a child quietly gestating inside the warm confines of its mother’s womb, it would be hard to say anyone, or anything, has had a better nine months than Phillipe Tougas (aka Pat Tougas). The twenty-four year old Canadian ended last year with the release of And When the Sky Was Opened, the sophomore effort of international tech-death band Serocs (and the first with Tougas as an official member). Next, in early 2016, Profound Lore released his pet project Chthe’ilist’s debut LP Le Dernier Crepescule. On May 20th of this year, Unique Leader Records will release First Fragment’s album Dasein, on which Pat handled lead guitar and vocals (of course).Yet somehow all of that will be eclipsed by Zealotry’s 2016 coming-out party, The Last Witness. It’s quite something to announce that Zealotry’s is the best of the aforementioned releases. The Last Witness might be the greatest death metal album, and even album, released in 2016, which has already been a never-ending jaw drop when it comes to death metal. It’s Pat Tougas’ planet. We are just breathing the air. Zealotry doesn’t write hooks or choruses. Their songs barely even have parts that repeat. But the experience as a whole is simply unmatched. At the tender age of twenty-four, Phil Tougas has the metal scene on lock. His skill, vision, and vocals have transcended mere pop concepts like hooks and catchiness. Rather, entire tracks and entire albums are in and of themselves the catch and the experience." - yourlastrites.com
"The level of exploration in songwriting and abstract musical ideas is very well fleshed out and forces the listener to go beyond the generic tropes of Death Metal and easy listening, in favor of a more thought provoking album that demands multiple listens for an appreciative understanding. This album is a sci-fi monolith, based on the works by renowned British writer Arthur C. Clarke, that is not afraid to explore more complex musical ideologies in Death Metal and does it strikingly well(...)‘The Last Witness’ showcases exactly why Zealotry made waves in the underground Death Metal community back in 2013. With their new album the band has taken steps forward in various directions to create an album that is built on similar principles but was not afraid to push itself to new heights. As a result the album became a huge success as the band has outdone themselves compositionally, stylistically, and dynamically to create an unique abstract album that joins the ranks of the Avant-Garde Black and Death Metal crowd of the recent years" -metalwani.com (9,5/10)
"Fans of Chthe’ilist will find a lot to love in The Last Witness as well; Phillipe Tougas plays a more supporting role in Zealotry, complementing frontman/guitarist Roman Temin, but his style is immediately recognizable, and his solos and snottily snarled vocals are among my favorite parts of the album. The Last Witness is a progressive album that’s both forward-thinking and backward-reaching, neither modern nor nostalgic. The band combine the sound and riffing style of classic death metal with a progressive approach that’s undoubtedly indebted to the death metal scene’s recent interest in all things dissonant. It’s a strong follow up to the band’s much-lauded debut and a remarkable album even among the crowded release schedule of 2016. "
"The artwork may reflect the lyrical themes and the loose sci-fi concept of the album, but in a way it reflects the aesthetics and the music displayed within it. It is as dark, distorted, and twisting as it is progressive, complex, and adventurous. It is death metal that could be described as progressive in its true sense. It is not about the myriad of notes and the solos and the technicality, but about the complex structures of the songs. They feel as if they are morphing, shifting spheres that change the surface of what we see, but always remain solid in the core. Imagine gigantic orb structures that change shape in time, yet remain the same in essence; that essence being, Death Metal. The songs move from the basic structures into an exploration of new territories. Each instrument speaks its own tongue, creating a communication of seemingly different languages. A conversation of individuals, where each one has something unique to say and express on a collage of impressions, painting an overwhelming and at times mystical and difficult-to-uncover story." -Nocleansinging.com
“Zealotry also deliver crushing death metal characterized by strange riffs, unique usage of pinch harmonics, and massive drumming. There is a perpetual use of melody, but it is done in a way that enhances the brooding atmosphere, as it compliments heavier riffs underneath the leads. The guitar solos show homage to Immolation axe-shredder Bob Vigna, with their almost backwards approach to lead guitar. The Charnel Expanse” is an impressive offering of old-school sounding death metal. There is a wave of Incantation clone bands at the moment, but Zealotry is truly something above and beyond most of these bands. It takes a lot for me to get excited about a newer death metal band, and Zealotry have done a pretty impressive job of creating a unique sounding record that will leave you wanting more." - skullfracturingmetal.com (8,2/10)
"The Charnel Expanse isn’t the hyper-quick death-by-gunshot we’ve come to expect from modern death metal. No, it torments the listener, ever so slowly but surely driving them insane, hearkening back to old school acts that placed more emphasis on mood than brutality. The song-writing is as dissonant as the instrumentation, once you think you’ve gotten the music figured out, everything will be turned on its head and the labyrinth you find yourself in will rearrange entirely. It’s an intricate web of tempo shifts and odd time signatures that will prove as addictive as it is maddening. - sputnikmusic.com (4/5)"
"Mais la découverte d'un jeune groupe américain du nom de Zealotry a réussi à elle seule à assouvir ma soif de découverte, tant son premier full-length m'a littéralement foutu par terre. Non pas grâce à sa puissance, son efficacité ou sa brutalité mais par l'entité tortueuse, rampante et enivrante que forme ses dix chansons.Je pourrais vous parler encore longtemps de The Charnel Expanse, faire des éloges sur le superbe titre instrumental "Codex Mysterium", parler des superbes riffs Morbid Angelien du titre éponyme, ou encore du splendide solo de "The Disgenicist". Mais à quoi bon ? La musique de Zealotry se vit plus qu'elle ne se commente. Alors si vous aussi vous avez été déçus par le dernier album de Ulcerate et que vous êtes à la recherche d'un groupe de Death ambiancé et original, foncez vous procurer The Charnel Expanse, qui sera à coup sûr une des grosses sorties au rayon Death de cette année 2013." - Thrashocore zine (8,5/10)
"From the infectious tremolo melodies on the first track to the creepy church bell intro on the last, this is truly an inspired album. A maze of intricate layers, reeling twists and superior musicianship, this is a thoroughly rewarding album. Despite its cerebral nature, these guys can certainly bring the killer riffs and astonishing solos. They also have an excellent sense of flow and a strong atmosphere. Like many complex albums, The Charnel Expanse may not click right away. It didn’t for me. It’s one of those albums where the greatness creeps up on you. This album is a monolith; an enlightened beast, yet still one with razor sharp fangs." -Metal Archives.com (96/100)
"Zealotry are from the US, and play an ambitious brand of Death Metal that attempts to offer something a little different from the run-of-the-mill USDM hordes. Mere brutality is not enough for Zealotry, nor should it be as they are blatantly capable of delivering so much more. And they do; they make good use of eerie melodies as part of their sound and are clearly more interested in creating an atmosphere for the listener rather than just blasting them into submission. They also know when to utilise calmer moments of restraint amidst the Deathly goings-on." - Wonderboxmetal.com
"With this new release Serocs is now definitely a first-class must have band for all technical death metal fans..Along with the magnificent art, the modern crisp production is commendable, and it does complete justice to all elements of the album. Clocking at about 47 minutes, the length of the album is just perfect. It seems the band almost left no stone unturned to make an entertaining slab of music for the technical death metal fan."
"Still, the album is surprising in its ferocity and uncompromising approach to an audible mental hell, much of what the lyrical content centers on. One of the most interesting ingredients to the music is actually the absence of one often important features of Tech Death bands: guitar solos. Rather than being pulled out of the moment or taken off to unnecessary paths with endless guitar noodling or solo masturbation, the album is built upon honest to god riffs, from both the guitars and the bass. Often times, I feel as if Metal bands, especially the more extreme ones, get into their own way by going too far into progressive extremity and just fill the songs with things that don’t really matter. SEROC’s approach to modern day Tech Day is so refreshing to my ears; the album focus on telling the story through not only the lyrics but the music itself, giving the atmosphere a focus that, instead of subduing the craziness, actually gives it room to grow.". - Metal-Temple.com (10/10)
"Serocs has accomplished their best record so far, "The Phobos / Deimos Suite" holds a solid concept, the songwriting is faultless, the production is clean but stands out every instrument, everything here sounds neat, it turns hard to point out any flaws when these guys unchain the most extreme brutality and they pack it with the most refined technique, if you are a real follower of the style then this is an album you shouldn't miss."
-Insanity Remains Webzine (4.7/5)
"It may have taken Serocs a few albums to get here but with The Phobos/Deimos Suite they’ve created an album most bands can only dream of doing. I am actually in awe of how good this is, even after having had the album on repeat for a couple days I still find something new and keep on changing what my favorite track is (which does in the end fall on “Deimos”). You’ve probably explored hell many times before through music but this is one journey there where you don’t want to miss the ride. " themetalgamerblog.com (5/5)
With a sound suited better to the cavernous depths of unyielding darkness, rather than the sterile, somewhat surgical precision of some of the acts mentioned above. Serocs build on some incredibly strong foundations to bring you the slab of tech death 2018 needs. Even as The Phobos / Deimos Suite takes a figurative dig into the realms of furore and brutality there’s the very essence of technical songwriting. For forty six blistering minutes, Serocs make the listener feel at home in their own cavernous hell. The noteworthy legacy of death metal may continue to overlook the likes of The Phobos / Deimos Suite but the underdog status suits this band to a “t”. For those who find themselves missing something in the precision, honed or well stated paradigmatic displays (or even the trend following found within some of the year’s ‘better publicised’ albums), Serocs has the potential to fill the bits between soul and mind, adding marrow to the bone." - Sputnikmusic.com (4/5)
"Potential energy is non-existent on this album. It's all been spent as kinetic energy. The guitars are a full, frontal assault on the senses. The tone is that of legend and unique. I've not heard another band make use of this particular sound.Though never a paint by numbers affair, from time to time, during the longer tracks, there is a feeling of sameness, but it never feels negative. The riffs are great and the sound is awesome, so it just goes on a little bit longer than most people would take it. Intermixed in the laborious heavy riffing are little interludes that oftentimes feel completely unconnected to what the band is doing. There's a progressive element due to these left turns, but I'd tarry in calling them a progressive metal band. They are firmly rooted in death metal, but those changes give the songs a unique and unexpected flavor. Anger, empathy, and hopelessness. This album hurts and it should. "-GlaciallyMusical.com
"For starters, And When the Sky Was Opened is the first album where Philippe Tougas’ (previously a guest musician, now a full-fledged member of Serocs) influence on guitar has really shown. And that influence is one of absolute extremes. And When the Sky Was Opened features death metal that is a touch more brutal than previous releases while contrasting that brutality with some of the more symphonic, melodically aspects the band has ever produced. The direction that Serocs has taken, bolstered and driven by the formal inclusion guitarist Philippe Tougas, results in some wonderful death metal. Fans around the globe should rejoice in the forward thinking direction that Serocs is driving an often maligned sub-genre of death metal in." -NineCircles.com
"Serocs has finally decided to stop fucking around, for their new album, And When the Sky Was Opened,has arrived to kick you squarely in the ass. That this album even exists is something of a marvel, for the international union spanning from Mexico to Finland must have been a logistical nightmare to pull off, yet somehow Phil Tougas of Chthe’ilist seemed to have found the challenge inviting. Considering that schedule, too, one must also consider his contribution to Serocs, as the quality of songwriting has significantly caught up to the technical prowess of Antonio Freyre, and the union, for the most part, couldn’t be more perfect." -metalobserver.com
"With former and current members of BEYOND CREATION, VALE OF PNATH to HATE ETERNAL and INFERI, how can this go wrong? The answer is, it can’t at all. Throughout this magnum opus you will hear some of the most amazing guitar playing you have heard in a while. The three guitarists Phil Tougas, Nick Padovani and Sanjay Kumar are masters of their craft and will grace your ears with their strings!" -metal-temple (5/5)
"One doesn’t typically expect a hyper-shred album to have a ton of variety, but it’s one of Demiurgus’ greatest strengths. My god, though, the performances are astounding; if you want to hear people doing cool shit with their instruments, this is the album for you. The band’s three guitarists each have a very distinct style of playing and lead tone, keeping the solos fresh and unique. The keys further drive home my belief that more tech death bands need actual keyboardists, as they provide a ton of texture and yet more counterpoint that wouldn’t have been there otherwise." -Toiletovhell.com (5/5)
"(...)precision songwriting with excellent flow and useful interludes, a labyrinth of progressive and technical flourishes, a polished production that you can drill down and dissect everything, and a supergroup operating at maximum capacity sums up Demiurgus. It’s clear the band operated with no restrictions on themselves, instead taking their grandest ambitions and running with them." 9.5/10
"Lyrically, they’ve undoubtedly created important pieces of music as the songwriting manages to be extremely compelling and done a magnificent job where the progressive extreme natures of structures are fresh, organic and accessible. I cannot grasp my mind how intellectual this record is fully demonstrated as I began to appreciate the musicianship, astonishing arrangements from the instrumentals and the glorious atmosphere within the production and sound mix is just so appreciative to my standards" -metalpurgatorymedia.com (9/10)
"Je peux comprendre l’avis de certains face à cette overdose de notes mais une fois appréhendées, les compos de ce Demiurgus arrivent à rester cohérentes et d’une fluidité exemplaire. Ceux vénérant le jeu de Phil Tougas seront comblés, le gaillard propose ses leads sur tous les morceaux (en regardant les crédits) et sa guitare classique (qui se passe encore en boucle « L’entité » ? Bibi) pour des passages flamenco superbement exécutés avec le son bien connu d’Hugues Deslauriers (responsable des galettes de First Fragment)." -Thrashocore Zine (8,5/10)
"(...)given the density, grandiosity, and technicality of it all, it’s undeniable that Demiurgus is one of the most ambitious albums the genre has seen in some time. From beginning to end, Demiurgus is an exercise in death metal virtuosity, capturing in one form or another everything there is to love about the progressive, technical, and melodic reaches of the genre." -HeavyBlogIsHeavy.com
"So how do you make a supergroup work? Equipoise show us that having a lead composer, creating dynamic pacing, and capitalizing on the strengths of all members in service of the songs are successful approaches. The result is what will undoubtedly be a contender for best technical death metal album of the year. Demiurgus would be an impressive and notable debut without any qualifiers, but it is also a shining example of how to successfully unite diverse influences and performers throughout the world for what is, truly, a supergroup."
"For a sophomore album that’s now crushing to the scene, it’s often stated that this is a well executed death metal albums for its artistic prowess, harmonic minor scales, neo-classical influenced form of music and has tonality of baroque music structures all respectively played as a resemblance to save and construct aspects what you’ll hear upon this beautiful album. Every track, diversity and multiple complex manifesting brutality pictures a painting so deeply that the direction Cosmic Atrophy took is another new level of excitement and exhilaration. The Void Engineers really satisfy a scrupulous artifact so standard that there’s no reason not to appreciate the beauty of this fascinating album." - metalpurgatorymedia.com (9/10)
"The mournful procession gets enlarged to nearly king/queen’s funeral-like proportions towards the end on the lengthy over 8-min saga “Aphotic Abnegation” which would make slow-motion behemoths like Thergothon and Skepticism inordinately proud. And yet, amazingly, the guys won’t drown every single one of us into the thousand lakes where those two reside; they won’t cause earlier they throw in the excellent title-track, a much more vivid to the point of proto-blastingness deathy jumper with nice psychedelic additives ala Voivod and Beheaded Zombie, and great twisted leads; and “Submerged in Metamorphosis Pools” which is a more sprawling, but utterly absorbing exercise in progressive death/doom with delightful crooked melodic licks tussling with nervy stop-and-go jolts which bring the spirit of Confessor again on top of fairly creepy dark cavernous Demilich-esque mysticism. "
"The progressive structural elements of the songwriting along with the extradimensional, twisted soundscapes on ‘The Void Engineers’ are what truly elevates Cosmic Atrophy above the average tech death fare and into the realm of trendsetters. On songs such as “Aphotic Abnegation,” the slow-build funeral doom dynamics and eerie keyboard melodies reach such levels of innovation as acts like The Ruins of Beverast. “Shackled to the Zenith of Uncreation” is a labyrinth of neo-classical, dissonant melodies that intertwine to somehow form a grotesquely harmonious backdrop for its powerfully macabre lyrical story." - metalnexus.net
"One key improvement over the first album is in the vocals, which are more vibrant and diverse in each of the songs. They have brought more depth and richness to the chapters, creating the feeling that the music is telling a story. The guitar performances are of course outstanding, dextrous and precise, and the solos are so good they sound inhuman (and made me want to start learning the instrument).
The sounds of synths and strings in some sections takes you to the world of pulp horror films from the ’50s – ’70s and the old chamber orchestra scores (as well as the pioneering days of synthesizer music making its way into the sonic DNA of horror films) of the late ’60s and early ’70s." - NoCleanSinging.com