Album Review :
Phinehas - s/t

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Band: Phinehas
Title: s/t
Label: N/A
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Scott L


01. Well If The Earths Are Stopped, Then The Fox Faces The Hounds
02. The Jungle
03. PanHammer
04. I Am The Lion
05. Grace Disguised By Darkness

Phinehas take their name from one of my favorite Old Testament characters. Or at least that’s what I’ve chosen to assume. He was a descendant of Aaron, Moses’ brother, and was a stand-up-and-take-action kinda guy. In Numbers 25, an Israelite guy brings a Midianite woman into the camp for less than honorable purposes. This was strictly forbidden. Not only did this guy sin but he did it brazenly in public. When Phinehas gets wind of what’s going on, he finds them and drives a spear through them both while they’re in the act. In doing so, he stops a great plague in Israel.

Phinehas is a 5-piece out of La Mirada, California that plays a crushing brand of old-school thrash with an undertone of progressive metal. If that sounds like your thing… just wait until you hear the music itself. And just like their Old Testament namesake, these guys are no nonsense. Not like the nylons your grandmother wears… like in your face, full on, lay it all on the line sonic assault in the first degree.

These guys sound similar to Anterior, War Of Ages, and As I Lay Dying. A lot like Anterior, actually. And let me say that the solo on “I Am The Lion” was a sweet reminder of the metal I enjoyed growing up. Not that it’s dated, it’s just that you don’t find guys willing to throw down like that as often these days. Or at least, as well as is done here.

Lyrically, Phinehas’ message lives up to their name. “Grace Disguised By Darkness” has lead vocalist Sean McCulloch pleading “I scream Your name / are You outside Your wrath? / oh God, I scream Your name and amongst the pile of dead / I see a Light split the water from the Heavens / and I feel God glowing inside me”. Or how about the EP’s opening track, “I shake the dust from myself / and set my face like flint / scorch the thorns entangling me / and pull me closer into You / because this city’s full of devils / and the streets clad with coal”.

Standout track was “I Am The Lion.” This is just an amazingly enjoyable song all the way around. It’s also got my vote to be included on IVM’s next heavy music compilation.  And did I mention the solo?

Overall: I’m no prophet, but I feel pretty confident when I say that Phinehas won’t stay indie for long. These guys do everything by the numbers (no pun intended) and pull off a great release for their efforts. Check them out. Sooner rather than later.