Phinehas – The Last Word is Yours to Speak

By Brody B on July-6-2013 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , , , | Share

Phinehas – The Last Word is Yours to Speak
Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/54
4.4 (32 votes)

Band: Phinehas
Album: The Last Word is Yours to Speak
Label: Red Cord Records
Release: 7.23.13
Reviewer: Brody
Tracklisting:

  1. Throes
  2. Fleshkiller
  3. The Deepest of Graves
  4. Blood on My Knuckles
  5. Twisted
  6. De el Quatro
  7. Out of Dust
  8. The Blessing and the Curse
  9. Dyson Sphere
  10. Manipulator’s Wire
  11. Salting the Mine
  12. From a Burning Sun
  13. WWII

You know those moments of where you have been trying your hardest for some time to figure something out, wracking your brain to the point your head hurts? And even better yet, the incredible clarity that comes from finally discovering the answer you were looking for.

For instance, pretty much every time I go to the movies I am distracted by a lesser known actor, who I am positive I have seen in something else, but I just can not place the actor.

I am bugged so much by not knowing who this mystery person is that it distracts me from focusing on the movie at all until I find out who they are. And yet, the seemingly God given revelation over who the face on the silver screen is brings such clarity and relief that I can finally concentrate and appreciate the movie for what it is.

In a similar fashion, since the inception of the band Phinehas, I have been attempting to figure out “Who they were”. What all the rage was about as folks could not stop pouring out praises for the band I viewed as “Above average, but nothing incredible”.

With the release of “The Last Word is Yours to Speak”, I have finally realized who Phinehas is: They are leaders of the modern metalcore, who are not overrated as I had initially perceived, but need more attention.

While there is not too much that really screams originality from Phinehas’ music, it is the conviction and skill put into the music that truly shines. This can be evidenced in lead single, Fleshkiller. Jason Combs and Bryce Kelley pave the way with devastating riffs laiden with an underlying groove, making the chorus seem all the more anthemic when giving away to intricate leads. The guitar solo that breaks loose during the bridge is phenomenal and keeps things from going stale in the last stretch of the song.

The Deepest of Graves and Blood on My Knuckles follow similar a similar mold as Fleshkiller. Blood on My Knuckles however, manages to stick out with it’s continuous southern drenched guitar riffs. Drummer, Lee Humerian matches the furious riffing of his band mates as he alternates flawlessly between steady beats that simply keep time to frenzied blast beats. Jason Combs again throws down not only the best guitar solo on the record, but possibly the best in Christian metal this year (We shall see in couple weeks when The Burial drops their new album).

Vocalist Sean McCulloch makes his presence known in Twisted. His screams come off crisp and strong, as he scales the vocal spectrum easily going from high yelps to sinister growls. McCulloch brings forth some of his strongest clean vocals into this song as well as he no so much sings, but chants, “Your mouth is a festering would / Never shut long enough to heal”, talking about crookedness within church walls.

Out of the Dust comes bursting out the gates as soon as the beautiful interlude, De el Quatro subsides. Out of the Dust is an absolute mammoth of a song, featuring jaw dropping heavy and clean moments, this track is a stand out from front to back. There is not a stand out member in this track, but rather the whole band firing on all cylinders as Combs lays down arresting leads throughout the verse while Bryce Kelley provides some beefy riffage to give the track some backbone. Humerian solidifies himself as a standout drummer in metalcore with his lightning fast double bass and interesting fills, refusing to simply bludgeon his China symbol into oblivion. McCulloch tracked some of his most impressive vocals to date on this track as well, with some of his strongest, most arousing lyrics to back them up. “Bring me the head of the beast or hide me in the ground / Bury me!” are sure to cause some massive pileups at live shows as fans fight for the mic.

For as great as Out of the Dust is, The Blessing and the Curse hit home all the more for me. While a bit more toned down from its’ predecessor, The Blessing and the Curse still proves to have some serious chops although it mostly focuses on melody rather than pit inducing breakdowns.  The chorus of the track nearly brought me to tears as McCulloch explains just how horrid we as humans are compared to the grace of God, “You are the Blessing and I am the curse / You are the Garden and I am the drought”. Combs throws in another astounding solo that would have Jimmy Page asking for tips. The bridge of the song continues to get all the more incredible with cleans layered underneath some of the most desperate screams loosed from the vocalists throat as he shouts, “Take me back!”. The sheer elevated sense of epicness towards the end of the track lead me to believe it was the end of the record my first time through.

And yet “The Last Word is Yours to Speak” is far from over at this point. Dyson Sphere shows the band going a bit out of their element and experimenting. The track starts slow, but just as it feels things are about to drag, the band pulls back the reins and continue to increase the intensity on the atmosphere until it reaches a magical swirling culmination of tremolo picking, reverb, and layered vocals.

Salting the Mine ends with someone from the band proclaiming, “Holy crap!”. Let’s just say, I felt much the same way after listening to this gem. The southern swagger of this track will fill every crevice of the void left by the absence of Once Nothing and The Showdown. That’s not to say this track is a carbon copy of those bands. McCulloch even goes to say in the track, “A wise man once told me / The only honesty left is originality”.

WWII answered a lot of fans prayers that the band would include some of the acoustic stylings brought into fruition by “The Bridge Between EP”. The track serves as a praise song, which both surprised and pleased me a great deal. The instrumentation on the track is simply stunning in it’s simplicity. Not only does it have guitars, but also light percussion, which adds a lot of depth to the track.

“The Last Word is Yours to Speak” is a great record from front to back, and quite a journey as well. The only real issue I took with the record was that I thought it had a few sub-par songs.  The Deepest of Graves and From a Burning Sun really failed to grab me in the way all the other tracks did. Not to say they don’t have great moments, in fact the “Apathy is dead!” breakdown in From a Burning Sun is really slick, but all in all these tracks felt like they could have just been left on the cutting board when selecting songs for this record. I think I especially feel this way since the album is as long as it is; it doesn’t really have room for any lacking tracks or else the listener could easily get discouraged from continuing the journey to the finish.

Overall: With this record I think many people are sure to have the same revelation about Phinehas as I did. These “Filthy Four”,  as they affectionately call themselves, are the real deal and meant to break free from this monotonous music scene into the limelight.

I would give “The Last Word is Yours to Speak” a 4.5 easy.

RIYL: Haste the Day (Attack of the Wolf King era) | War of Ages | Oh, Sleeper

Phinehas - The Last Word is Yours to Speak, 4.4 out of 5 based on 32 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Brody B

About the author Brody B

I am a 22 year old front end web developer by day and a youth leader, aspiring skateboarder, bass player extraordinaire, and Subaru fanboy by night. View all posts by Brody B

54 Responses to 'Phinehas – The Last Word is Yours to Speak'

  1. Scott says:

    I’m excited for Salting the Mine! And the rest of the album…

    Reply

  2. Brandon J. says:

    I would add Atreyu to the RIYL section too. This album far exceeded my expectations. The artwork may not be my favorite but then again what does it matter when it just sits on a tiny ipod screen. I am floored by how great this band is and will become over the next few years. Just watch, I have a feeling Phinehas are going to fill the void left by the absence of Haste the Day and As I Lay Dying…..

    Reply

  3. Its times like these i wish i was oficialy “on staf”, lol. U luky dogs n yur pre- release promo copys. ^^ I wil let yal know once i actualy hear this tho, of course, lol.

    Reply

  4. fusse says:

    Phil if it makes you feel any better, just to let you know that I’m not a ‘luky dog’ and I’m on staff ;)

    Reply

  5. Jonathan says:

    First album was great, Ep was great, this will be great.

    Reply

  6. Sean says:

    Salting the Mine’s lyric that you quoted is “the only originality left is honesty,” not the other way around :)

    Reply

  7. Steven says:

    “Not only does it has guitars…” I can haz guitars?

    Reply

  8. John says:

    STOKED for this album. If “Fleshkiller” is any indication for the rest of this album, this will probably be my favorite metalcore release this year. They’re playin not far from me on August 1st, and I have every intention of being there. Really cool dudes, too. Met Lee at Ichthus last year

    Reply

  9. MrM says:

    “I can haz guitars?” – My thoughts exactly.

    Pumped for this! Unfortunately I can’t remember if I pre-ordered or not XD

    Reply

  10. thruchristalone777 says:

    Cool. I pre-ordered this bad boy, so I am super stoked to hear it.

    Reply

  11. TheArchangel says:

    Those first three paragraphs describe how I feel about 90% of the time; I get it with people’s faces, music, movies, sermons… nearly anything.

    Oh, and also, great review. Stoked for this album.

    Reply

  12. Bryce says:

    I don’t mean to be overly critical, but why is it that most albums receive 3 or 4 stars on this site? It’s hard to really gauge how good an album is when only two ratings are typically used. This and Rescue & Restore both got 4 stars. Are those albums equal in quality? I know it’s the reviewers personal opinion, but I just feel like the rating gives almost no information.

    Reply

    • Jonathan says:

      I think it’s because the reviewers here get to pick which albums to review, and nobody’s going to choose to review an album that they hate.

    • MrM says:

      This is a common problem :S Realistically though, The Last Word Is Yours To Speak and Rescue & Restore could be very similar in quality. I haven’t listened to either album, but I imagine it’s possible. Both very talented bands. ABR is certainly a more groundbreaking band, but Phinehas is exceptional at what they do.

      As Jonathan said, people tend to review what they like. But at the same time, the standard of musical quality (in my opinion) has been raised. Years ago, less bands got great production and recording quality, now everyone can be a musician or producer. The music industry has come a long way. We could perhaps review our rating standard. I think I remember a time on IVM where there were skull ratings, and each skull had a description of the rating?
      Such as: 1 skull – use it as a coaster
      or: 10 skulls – a flawless album. Able to recommend to everyone for every aspect of the album

      Perhaps we could change it to something along the lines of:
      1 star – Very unimpressive effort
      2 stars – An average and adequate album
      3 stars – Had potential to be more, but was solid
      4 stars – Very well done album, lacking only a few elements to put it over the too
      5 stars – Flawless album, executed perfectly

      Fairly similar to normal ratings, but with a 2 star rating being the current 3 star rating. Perhaps by separating the better ratings, we could have more diverse album review ratings?

      Just a thought. Maybe I’m, crazy

    • Brandon J. says:

      What’s the problem with an album that RULES? I would have rated it high myself if I were reviewing. It’s just a great album.

      As for the “scores”, we get these comments every few months or so and I have to rehash the same remarks over and over again until I feel like I am going to go insane. Nothing has changed in the 8 years of running the webzine except we went from a score of 1-10 down to 1-5. We get complaints no matter what we do and it’s really a no win situation.

    • Dj-Dk says:

      AbsolutePunk has this same arguement on almost every review. One of the suggestions that I would like to see implemented if somebody decides to change their rating system is a simple Not recommended/Recommended/Highly recommended. It’s simple but effective.

    • Bryce says:

      I am here to eat my words. I finally picked up “The Last Word is Yours to Speak”. It absolutely deserves a 4/5, and the argument can easily be made that this album is on par with “Rescue and Restore”.

  13. Bryce says:

    Just to clarify, I love Phinehas, and I definitely think this record could earn a legitimate 4/5. I didn’t realize that the rating system is often brought into question. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. My apologies.

    Reply

  14. Ty DeLong says:

    So glad to hear this album lived up to its potential. I’ve been looking for a metal band with more of a shred-factor since As I Lay Dying is… erm… may not make much more music. I’ll definitely be picking this up.

    Reply

  15. Tim says:

    Sorry, not a fan. One Star is my rating after listening to it. Don’t like the album cover either.

    Reply

  16. Lucas says:

    This is definitely on my list of things to check out. Took me awhile to get into thegodmachine actually, but when I did I totally understood the hype. :)

    Reply

  17. Jonathan says:

    Really great album. 9/10 for me. Not sure if I like this or their previous album better though.

    Reply

  18. thruchristalone777 says:

    After having listened to the album a good 5 times through I have to say that it really is an excellent album. It doesn’t surpass “thegodmachine”, but it is definitely up to par with it. I think I would give it a high 4/5.

    Reply

    • FreedomGunfire says:

      I’ve been listening to the album on Spotify since yesterday. I think TLWIYTS is better than thegodmachine, but to each his own. Specifically, I find the production on this latter record much better; I thought the guitars on thegodmachine often sounded just a touch spacey/echoic. I think the songwriting is more consistent on this sophomore effort also.

    • Keith says:

      This is a better album. It’s more diverse and not just “Let’s play metal, sing a bit, then sneak in a solo”. There is more to it. But thegodmachine was also written about 3 years before it was released so they were playing and recording old songs and Lee wasn’t as good on drums as he is now so they got to do a lot more different rhythms that made this album more interesting.

    • Brandon J. says:

      Yeah in my opinion, this album is much better than “thegodmachine”. It’s such a vast improvement in quality and musicality. I know metalcore isn’t for everybody but for me the album’s commercial appeal definitely struck a chord with me and has made me an even bigger supporter of the band. This is most definitely the best album Red Cord has ever put out and I think they are well aware of that. If any label swallows these guys up it would probably be Victory Records since they distribute Red Cord releases.

    • Ryan Verrill says:

      God I HOPE it is not Voctory :/

    • Brandon J. says:

      Victory sucks ;) Seriously, I was only making a guess. There is no solid plans for the band to leave Red Cord or sign with another label at this time. I hope I didn’t confuse anyone.

    • Scott says:

      Does anyone know what their contract is with Red Chord? If I’m counting right this is their 3rd record with them. Godmachine, EP, and then this. Their contract can’t be much longer, right?

    • Dany says:

      Red Chord’s contract is 2 albums. This is technically their second cause I don’t think EP’s or b-sides count. I doubt they stay with the label

    • Dany says:

      I heavily doubt they will sign with Victory.

    • Bryce says:

      If they did sign with Victory, maybe, just maybe, they’d bring a bit of credibility to the label. I don’t want to see it happen either, but there is a chance it would work out for everyone.

  19. John says:

    So after listening to the whole album…. I don’t expect these guys to remain on Red Chord much longer, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s only a matter of time before a bigger label steals them away (from an outsider perspective, for all I know they’re perfectly happy with Red Chord and have no intention of leaving even if they have bigger labels knockin on the door, so to speak)

    Reply

  20. Lucas says:

    There’s a couple tracks that get lost in the mix for me, but otherwise this is a fantastic album. I especially love the ballads here. “Dyson Sphere” and “WWII” are phenomenal. Can’t think of another metal album, at least off the top of my head, that ended with an acoustic worship song. So incredibly beautiful! This will probably be in my top 10 at years end.

    Reply

    • Chandler A. says:

      Yeah the couple tracks that aren’t bad but aren’t standout for me are twisted & manipulator’s wire. But beyond that it’s phenomenal. Dyson Sphere imo has the best lyrics they’ve ever written. However, metal albums end in, maybe not acoustic, but softer songs all the time! I can probably think of 10 or 15 off the top of my head easy. Not to take away from WWII, but honestly having your album end on a soft song is kind of cliché to me

    • thruchristalone777 says:

      One of Mortal Treason’s albums ended with an acoustic worship track.

    • MrM says:

      Yeah, I’ve seen a few reviews even where the reviewer claims they’re sick of having a slow song at the end of a heavy CD, it “kills the momentum” or things like that. I’m fine either way, I’d rather have the momentum lost at the end than half way through. But at the same time I’d rather have something to break up the heaviness of a CD and give my ears a rest.

      Though it seemed more like Lucas was emphasizing acoustic worship, and not slow songs. Where I could think of lots of slow songs at the end of CD’s, I couldn’t think of any flat out worship songs. Though they’re also not my thing :P

  21. Scott says:

    I saw these guys this weekend. Sooooo good! I asked them about their record situation. It doesn’t sound so good. They have at least one more album with Red Chord. The company was struggling to get out the preorders and apparently the physical albums aren’t even out in stores yet. Crazy. Sean said the whole situation is “in God’s hands.” Good guy.

    Reply

    • Bob says:

      Red Cord is an absolute joke when it comes to pre-orders and getting albums out. I have ordered albums through them a few times and it took months to get it. With that being said the album is very good. I have a buddy that plays for Leaders and just toured with them. He said they were great guys and fun to tour with. That’s always nice to hear.

    • Chandler A. says:

      They were struggling to get preorders out? I’ve preordered twice through them & never had a problem. With this CD, I preordered the night of the 17th and I got it Saturday the 20th three days before the release!

    • Scott says:

      @Chandler Thats great that yours came in on time! I haven’t preordered anything from Red Chord so I don’t know personally. I did spend the whole release day looking for the cd at 3 stores (Best Buy, Family Christian, and a local shop) in vain. I finally just got it at their show. Its just so stinkin inconsistent. Bums me out because if anyone deserves to be big its these guys.

    • MrM says:

      You’re lucky Chandler -.- Still waiting for mine :/

  22. Travis Aker says:

    I think personally this would be a great band for like Solid State or Facedown Records to pick up,they would fit in perfectly with the roster and would get a bigger push,I would prefer them to go to Facedown Records though.

    Reply

  23. FreedomGunfire says:

    Definitely digging this album. Got an AmazonMP3 gift card as a birthday gift, this was one of two albums I snagged immediately.

    A few observations: the intro to “Out of the Dust” brought War of Ages to mind. In “Salting the Mine” the vox for the “…we walk a tightrope…” refrain totally reminded me of Cory from Norma Jean. Does anyone else hear either of these?

    Reply

    • GMAN says:

      Adding on to this idea: The spoken word throughout “From a Burning Sun” sounds like Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red’s spoken word vocals, I think.

  24. Ian says:

    I really hope these guys blow up soon. One of the best albums this year easy. So much passion and so genuine.

    Reply

  25. Tony Takach says:

    Great album. There are a few ok songs that don’t stand out to me, but for the most part this is an amazing record. My favs are out from the dust, the deepest of graves, wwII, and from a burning sun.

    Reply

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