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Among Phantoms – Memories/Catastrophes

Among Phantoms
Memories/Catastrophes
by Andrew Graham at 28 November 2020, 11:18 AM

Danish newcomers AMONG PHANTOMS deliver an angry debut that should rightly sow doubt in the minds of those who long ago declared that “punk is dead.” With this short but sweet release the group comes crashing onto the punk scene with a genuine originality that will nonetheless be familiar to fans of groups like CANCER BATS.

The album opens with “It is Us”, which does what every good opening track ought to do: tell the listener immediately what to expect. From the word go we have playful timing, abrasive vocals, chugging yet melodic guitars and drums that bounce seamlessly between the expected punk motifs and more metal influences. “Breathe You In” reminded me strongly of AMERICAN HEAD CHARGE in the opening segment – quite the nostalgia trip! More groovy riffs and melodic responses follow, based throughout around Lars’ tormented shrieks and snarls.

“Anticipation” displays more of the metalcore influences the group exhibits, with a slower pace initially that is no less impactful than more intense sections. Tempo then picks up towards the end of the track, reminding one of days when metalcore was cool – think early 2000’s and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. “Oblivion” follows, bombarding the listener with an intro section with more snarled vocals from Lars. We even get something like dreamy backing vocals, standing in sharp contrast to the overall abrasive tone, before closing with a drum and guitar let stomp fest.

“Taking Over” opens with a punchy punky riff and roar from Lars and devotes much time to the classic breakdowns one expects of hardcore punk. “Red” begins with an almost thrashy riff, that nonetheless toys playfully with slightly whacky timing, all underlay with more vocal brutality from Lars. I keep mentioning his vocals, purely because they so expertly tick the box of vocal abrasion that would be expected from this style of music. Album closer “Don’t Look Back, Commit” continues the riff-heaviness started by “Red”, unrelenting right to its conclusion.

The production is of excellent quality, though (as is characteristic of me to nit-pick!) I would have liked a tad more reverb to the vocals and have it sat slightly farther back in the mix – that’s just me and my prejudices! Overall though this is a very strong debut, if a little on the short side. I remember how delighted I was when I discovered GALLOWS and realised that punk had not in fact died! If we consider the themes and values of punk, could there possibly be a better time for it than now? Like Spitting Image, it thrives on uncertainty and chaos in the social and political realm. Thus, there is plenty of room for these fine gents and others like them. From start to finish, this album is a compulsive knee-slapper and head-banger – full of energy and pomp. Regular readers will recall just how much of a genre-nerd I am and how much I love hybrid genres. There’s something particularly satisfying about this narrow cross-section meeting place of hardcore punk and metalcore. Something about the best of both worlds seems appropriate? Though at the moment live events seem a long way off, I can well imagine willingly losing myself to these guys in concert. I sincerely hope I get that opportunity at some point in the future!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. It is Us
  2. Breathe You In
  3. Anticipation
  4. Oblivion
  5. Taking Over
  6. Red
  7. Don’t Look Back, Commit
Lineup:
Lars Raun Petersen – Vocals
Rene Holmboe – Drums
Mads Trebbien – Guitar
James Amstutz – Guitar
Anders S. Mikkelsen – Bass
Record Label: Independent
     


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