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Music / Phil Tougas

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Philippe "Phil" Tougas is a Canadian metal musician. A longtime underground stalwart, Phil's relentless creative drive and active online presence slowly got him noticed over the course of his teen years and set the stage for him to explode out into the greater scene as a major figure in a wide variety of underground metal genres in the 2010s.

Phil Tougas first picked up a guitar at a young age and started carrying a musical legacy that was started by his family, as his father and uncles were all founding members of D.D.T., the first Quebecois metal band. At some point in his mid-teens, he wound up forming First Fragment, his first true band, though he had been writing material since his early teens. He came and went in several other bands over the next few years and also formed Chthe'ilist, his next project, in 2010. In 2011, he joined the Massachusetts-based death metal act Zealotry and local QCDM stalwarts Vengeful, while the following year saw him forming Atramentus to add to his personal projects, as well as the Mexico-based technical death metal act Serocs, the latter of which recorded the first full-length that he was on. 2013 was the second year that any of his bands released full-lengths, as Vengeful and Zealotry both released albums that he was on, while 2014 saw First Fragment getting signed to Unique Leader Records. 2015 saw Serocs release their second full-length, but hype was building for a bigger year. 2016 was the year that all of his behind-the-scenes activity and his steadily-growing online presence paid off, as Chthe'ilist, Zealotry, and First Fragment all released full-lengths that saw a great deal of critical praise. 2017 mostly saw activity from First Fragment, though he also joined Equipoise, Eternity's End, Funebrarum, and Cosmic Atrophy over the course of the year and was prepared to embark on a full US tour with First Fragment that ultimately fell through due to visa issues, while 2018 saw releases from Chthe'ilist, Serocs, Zealotry, and Cosmic Atrophy, as well as a very late release from Eternity's End that will stretch into the beginning of 2019 as crowdfunding orders are delivered. The only certain release in 2019 at the time of writing is Equipoise, though Funebrarum is also likely, and Atramentus is also in the realm of possibility. As of March 2019, he is no longer in Zealotry due to logistical and scheduling difficulties, and Ray Brouwer (Garroted) has taken his place. He also departed Serocs and Equipoise at some point during the year, but has also stated that he has several new projects in the works to make up the difference.

Band history:

  • First Fragment (guitars, vocals, occasionally bass) (2007-present)
  • Senseless Shell (guitars) (2008-2010)
  • Salvation (guitars) (2009-2011)
  • Spheres (guitars, vocals) (2010)
  • Chthe'ilist (guitars, bass, synths, vocals) (2010-present, stopped doing bass in 2016)
  • Vengeful (guitars, vocals) (2011-2014)
  • Zealotry (guitars, vocals) (2011-2019)
  • Atramentus (everything) (2012-present)
  • Serocs (guitars, vocals) (2012-2019)
  • Xexanoth (everything) (2014-2017)
  • D.D.T. (guitars) (2014-present)
  • Equipoise (guitars) (2017-2019)
  • Funebrarum (guitars) (2017-present)
  • Eternity's End (guitars) (2017-2021)
  • Cosmic Atrophy (guitars, vocals) (2017-present)
  • VoidCeremony (guitars) (2020-present)
  • Crestfallen (guitars) (2020-present)
  • Dicymerian (guitars) (2021-present)
  • Worm (guitars) (2021-present)

This artist contains examples of the following tropes:

  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Subverted with First Fragment, as it was a nonsense name that was intended to be a placeholder until they came up with something better, but it somehow stuck.
  • Ascended Extra: Was this in Equipoise. Nick Padovani originally contacted him to ask him to track a few guest leads, but the two got talking and Phil wound up joining as a full member.
  • Badass Family: His father and uncles all helped found D.D.T., the first Quebecois heavy metal group, and Pierre Tougas (his father) does sound for major events in the Montreal area.
  • Canada, Eh?: From the Montreal metro area.
  • Child Prodigy: Started playing guitar when he was a child and was already writing songs for First Fragment when he was in his early teens.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Notorious for his snarky commentary on social media.
  • Doom Metal: Atramentus is a funeral doom project, and he also expressed interest in doing an epic doom project before he finally announced Crestfallen in 2021.
  • Fan of the Past: While he avidly keeps up with new releases, at the end of the day, he will always reliably return to the old-school tech-death, death/doom, shred, and USPM acts that he loves.
  • Gratuitous English: Subverted with him, as while Quebec French is his first language and the one that he does most of his IRL daily communications in, he is a fluent English speaker who conducts almost all of his online communications that way. Played straight with early First Fragment, as David Alexander Brault-Pilon speaks minimal English but tried his best to write his lyrics in English exclusively; the rampant "Blind Idiot" Translation was what ultimately got David and the band as a whole to decide to just write all of their lyrics in French.
  • I Am the Band: Literally in the case of Atramentus and the now-defunct Xexanoth, and is still mostly this in Chthe'ilist. Inverted with Zealotry, as Roman Temin is still the primary songwriter and sole lyricist (though Phil and Alex Zalatan did have writing contributions on At the Nexus of All Stillborn Worlds).
  • Metal Scream: A firm Type 2, sporting an extremely low gurgle reminiscent of most early 90s death/doom vocalists, while his vocals in Chthe'ilist are more dry and froglike.
  • Power Metal: Let's put it this way: if it's a power metal release that came from the US between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s, especially if it is loaded with neoclassical shred solos and has a Guy Aitchison cover, he probably listens to it religiously, and he probably either spent hundreds of dollars on Discogs for one very rare used copy or gave up only after a truly exhaustive search. He had wanted to form a band like this for about as long as he was good enough at guitar to do so, but by his own admission, he could not find a single halfway decent vocalist in Quebec or Ontario who was able or willing to play that kind of music with him, so he went without until he got an opportunity to join Eternity's End in 2017, and again when he took what he had written for the third Eternity's End album and decided to form Dicymerian in 2021. He has also repeatedly referred to First Fragment as an "extreme power metal" act, and has said that he does not consider Gloire Eternelle to be a tech death album, but rather a power metal album with harsh vocals and blastbeats.
  • Retraux: Multiple projects of his:
    • Chthe'ilist: Tribute to early/mid-1990s weird death metal in the vein of Demilich, Timeghoul, Crematory (who they covered), Adramelech, and Catacomb with a dirty, echo-y production style.
    • Serocs: While not his project (though he does share writing duties with Antonio Freyre), they are a tribute to the early/mid-2000s Unique Leader catalog.
  • Signature Style: He has an extremely distinctive lead style with a wide vibrato, an echo-y, reverb-drenched tone, erratic whammy accents to create a disorienting effect, lengthy, cascading alternate picking runs, and explosive sweep-tapping runs.
  • Technical Death Metal: First Fragment, Serocs, Equipoise, Cosmic Atrophy, and VoidCeremony (which he will all agree with, though he may debate First Fragment), and Chthe'ilist (which he will disagree with) and Zealotry (which he will disagree with and Roman will vehemently disagree with).
  • Troll: Legendary for his delight in fucking with people who annoy or irritate him online, namely a South American online 'zine with NSBM ties who pestered him for an interview that he had no intention of giving, as well as the infamous Chevy-Dune de Beernote .
  • Wolverine Publicity: Has gained this in recent years thanks to his extremely prolific output, well-known social media presence, and the amount of hype that certain releases of his have carried in mainstream publications.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: First Fragment's lyrics are this if you speak French; as per Phil, David has a whole conceptual saga plotted out that he has wrapped up in a highly complex lyrical package cloaked in multiple layers of symbolism centered around a trapped and tormented god stuck in an endless death-and-rebirth "Groundhog Day" Loop, but if he hadn't explained it to him, Phil would have had no idea what it was about.