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Phantom Fire - Eminente Lucifer Libertad

Phantom Fire
Eminente Lucifer Libertad
by David Hough at 22 March 2023, 5:36 AM

Eminente Lucifer Libertad” was recently released by the Norwegian speed/black metal band, PHANTOM FIRE, on the record label, Edged Circle Productions. This album is their second full-length release. The tracks, “Eminente,” “Lucifer,” and “Libertad” divide the album into three separate phases. These tracks consist of varying durations of ambient soundscapes, followed by Ferruccio Goia speaking the title. These three tracks are also largely unnecessary. The album goes through different phases, but there is zero need for the ambient backgrounds and narration. The album opener, “Bloodshed,” gives a great impression of how the majority of this will sound. The instruments are played fast and furious and the vocals are mostly shouted rasps. The lead guitar solos are excellent and the hook is catchy. The most impressive facet of “Bloodshed” is session musician, Iver Sandøy’s tactile drumming and palpable blast beats.

Derive From Ash” is also a hit. The riffs are sick and the chorus is catchy. The main riff bounces along like a late-era SATYRICON track. My only complaint is that in this track, the vocals tend to get lost in the mix. Its buzzing tremolos and celebratory finale almost make up for that shortcoming. The fifth track, “Satanic Messenger,” threw me for a loop. This isn’t a metal song at all. It plays out more like an industrial dungeon synth track. The atmosphere is eerie, but it also has way too much reverb. The chanted title is a plus, but the whole track is a mess and wholly superfluous. Track nine, “Mara,” pulls zero punches. This is full-on black metal at its finest. It’s not flat-out feral throughout the entire track. There are a couple of pauses, but as soon as Eld grunts, the song goes back to full speed. The breakdown at the song’s end is also noteworthy.

The eleventh and final track is “Pentagram.” This is the longest song on “Eminente Lucifer Libertad,” clocking in at just under six and a half minutes. The song starts slow, but quickly ramps up to full intensity. There is also a chorus of male vocals chanting the album title. That element works surprisingly well. At roughly the two-minute mark, an audio sample can be barely heard. The band is still playing some great speed metal, but with the dialogue of the sample at the same volume, the last four minutes devolve into a muddled mess. Overall, “Eminente Lucifer Libertad” is an album with fun, enjoyable tracks, as well as dull, pointless ones. The best tracks are equally as fun as the worst tracks are tedious. The instrumentation is superb in every one of the actual speed/black metal tracks. Songs like “Mara” and “Bloodshed” are surefire playlist material, but had the ambient and declarative tracks been left off entirely, this album would be an amazing EP.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Bloodshed
2. Eminente
3. Derive From Ash
4. Ritual
5. Satanic Messenger
6. Lucifer
7. De Taptes Dans
8. Black Night
9. Mara
10. Libertad
11. Pentagram
Kjartan - Guitars
Eld - Vocals, Bass
Iver Sandøy - Drums
Record Label: Edged Circle Productions


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