Birthed in 2017, DELIRIA had the misfortune of coming into being shortly after the “post-black metal” (I will never understand that term) dam had burst, unleashing a saddened, craft beer-sipping, beard-grooming, horde of L.L. Bean-wearing DEAFHEAVEN fans masquerading as shoegaze devotees into the gene pool. Thankfully, Nausea had enough going for it to pass as more than Muzak made for immersing yourself in during your time at the local Whole Foods Market, and thus…Phantasm.

‘Smoke & Mirrors’ wants to shimmer its way into your consciousness, but there’s just something about the tone of this guitar that’s annoying from jump. Blessedly, once the easily identifiable snarls of Adam Rupp (imagine So Far, So Good…So What! Dave Mustaine fronting a black metal band circa 2002, and you’re not that far off) kick in so does the band, and they begin to do their damage in that best of ways.

The mid-paced march of ‘Gemini’ is infectious, the Scanlon/Rockwell guitar duo weaving in and out of ever-rhythmic pulse and pound, and into the title track, no less memorable yet much blunter, blinding in its ferocity. ‘Reckless’ alternately capers and confounds, yet in the sense that you want to play it again in case you missed something the first time. You did, by the way, as I’m sure did I. Conjuring musical fire, ‘Spellcraft’ at times is dirge, at times incant, but always shifting, never once letting the listener get too comfortable, a definite plus given the tendency to play it safe within the realms of post-well, you know what. Of note in this tune specifically is the combo of Forsythe [bass] and Clevenstine [drums], who are as key to what makes this band what it is as any single entity.

And, at the end, after the 10+ minute closer, ‘Oblivion’, is revealed what I think sets DELIRIA apart from the norm or has with this album. Five members who operate as a singular entity, but clear in their purpose and extremely deft in their function, using their tools to attain the best result. If you’re looking for some 100% organic free-range artisanal black-ish metal, look no further than Phantasm. In the words of Mike Pearson, “There’s this door down here. And I bet there’s something behind it.”
Review By: Lord Randall