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PhallaX – Lex Concordia Award winner

PhallaX
Lex Concordia
by Kenn Staub at 26 February 2021, 10:38 PM

As PHALLAX makes clear in their press packet, they are not a postal service (that would be FedEx), nor a war formation (referred to as a phalanx), or another word for male genitalia (also called a phallus). Rather, PHALLAX is a totally new, created word to describe the melodic, arena-ready power metal played by this group of German musicians and on offer in their third full length release, “Lex Concordia” (dropping March 12). Formed in 2004, the members of PHALLAX have honed their musical chops on tours with MOB RULES, TANKARD, GUN BARRELL, and VISCIOUS RUMORS, developing a collective tightness that’s demonstrated on this 11 song collection.

Here We Stand,” the opening track, is a microcosm of what PHALLAX offers throughout “Lex Concordia.” The song is well structured, based around an appealing hook with well-crafted bridges facilitating in-song transitions. PHALLAX’s craftsmanship is further evident in their construction of the track’s intro, which reels the listener in, and outro, that eases into a conclusion. The chorus has sing-along sensibilities with an overt call-and-response quality. There is nothing abrupt, but rather the track has a smooth headbanging flow that is easy to enjoy and appreciate.

Scratch App” is a busy, racing track with a big drum intro channeling speed metal. “I Shit On Your Parade” is classic power metal; Jogi Shure’s growling vocals combining with the instrumentation to give the song a menacing quality. “Jornsack Newton,” a salute to physics, is my favorite. It leads with a catchy riff, a melody that’s easy to settle into, neat time changes in the bridge, and a perfect call-and-response chorus. In short, “Jornsack Newton” is musical fun (and the video is a perfect complement).

Sung in German, “Sei Du Das Licht” (“You Be The Light’), has a thrashy start and features a powerful riff. Slower elements serve as a bridge and Lukas Schoebel not only lays down a steady beat with his drum, but also uses it to accent the melody. Shure’s singing is showcased on “Echoes,” which revolves around a somewhat haunting, somewhat spacey musical line. It’s as close to a power ballad, especially the 1980s-era guitar solo, as PHALLAX gets (so much so that it’s easy to envision people swaying from side-to-side in time with the music).

Hey You” was perhaps PHALLAX’s only misstep on the album. It seems just a little off, though that could simply be due to its being such an abrupt, shifting rocker coming after the peaceful lull of “Echoes.”

Roots Of Bitterness” feature guitars playing over a funky groove, segueing into to a power metal line. The mid-song instrumentation is skillfully played and attention grabbing. “Inside Us” is nicely layered with almost symphonic stylings. The operatic hints of “Inside Us” are given full bloom on “Silent Tragedy.” The drums are big, the guitars powerful, and the not previously demonstrated point-counterpoint singing ear catching. “Lex Concordia” ends with “Rock Solution,” a solid, power metal banger replete with big choruses.

Lex Concrdia” was a joy to review, a well-structured, fully developed celebration of melodic power metal that would be at home in any arena. The tunes are addictively catchy and performed with exemplary attention to detail, free of any stiltedness so often accompanying such precision. “Lex Concordia” impressed me enough that I’ve put PHALLAX near the top of a growing list of bands I’d love to see live once concerts return.

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Here We Stand
2. Scratch App
3. I Shit On Your Parade
4. Jornsack Newton
5. Sei Du Das Licht
6. Echoes
7. Hey You
8. Roots Of Bitterness
9. Inside Us
10. Silent Tragedy
11. Rock Solution
Lineup:
Jogi Shure – Vocals
Felix Schurr – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Timo Joos – Guitar
Hannes Lendle – Bass
Lukas Schoebel – Drums
Record Label: Metalapolis Records
     


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Edited 29 November 2021
 

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