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Phase Reverse - Phase IV Genocide Award winner

Phase Reverse
Phase IV Genocide
by Rachel Montgomery at 18 December 2020, 5:14 PM

PHASE REVERSE is a band from Greece bringing their fans the fourth installment of “the phase.” They describe themselves as “Southern European Pentatonic Heavy Metal,” uniquely blending elements of hard rock, metal, country, and folk. Does their latest album hold up though, and who would most enjoy their style? Let’s take a look.

The opening track reminds me of a darker version of THE WHO’s “Pinball Wizard’s” infamous riff. The song itself is a lead-in to the first full track, “Destruction On Demand”. The riff morphs from a fast techno melody into pounding guitars. The overlay is a traditional hard rock song, but the backing techno sound makes it a unique standout, and makes the listener intrigued to hear more. The next track, “Genocide,” has a long, but beautiful intro. Starting out with an acoustic guitar melody, the track adds in some tolling bells before getting into the meat of the guitar riff. The vocals don’t start until two minutes in, but it’s worth the wait.

The next two songs take some cues from mainstream hard rock, namely, the gritty, militaristic tone. In no way am I saying these songs are vanilla radio garbage, far from it. “10-4” is an aptly named militaristic riff with muffled vocals and a camo feel. Like the first tracks, the progressive backdrop keeps the song far away from the maligned “butt-rock” category. The verse is fast and blood-pumping, but the chorus is more melodic. “Know Thy Shit” slows things down but keeps a harder tone. The guitar solo also features some nice sweeps which set it apart from the rest of the song. The next song, “Die And Let Live” has a similar tone to the previous song which dulls the album a bit for me – if they threw in another instrumental, a more progressive, or even a faster song in between these numbers, it would have mixed the album’s tone up nicely.

The next track “Delete” delivers some variety. It goes back to the earlier tracks by including a unique guitar riff behind the main, anthemic song. This time, the riff is less inspired by early prog elements and more by country/western – with a smattering of punk influence in the chorus. The next track, “Eat What You’re Served” has a decent hook, and is also fast, but more mainstream sounding than the previous tracks. “Sound Of My Stone”, the penultimate track, is a lovely melodic piece – the hook, the soaring chorus, and the different direction (80s melodic power chords vs. the rest of the album’s gritty tuned-down trend), makes this song my favorite on the album.

Finally, the album leaves us with a dirge connecting the band’s overarching theme of “the phase”. The slow, low tone of the song lulls us out of the album in an eerie end to an album with heavy war and genocide themes. In the end, the song climbs from the steady dirge into a loud, final chorus, descending back into the opening riff – a lovely way to bring the album back full-circle. The final track especially shows this album is for fans of modern, mainstream hard rock & metal who like a harder, grittier, more militaristic sound, but who hate butt-rock. So, if bands like FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH are your guilty pleasure, but you’re looking for a more complex, nuanced take on the sound, this band is for you. They employ progressive elements, creative effects, and put thought into their work.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Return
2. Destruction On Demand
3. Genocide
4. Copy 10-4
5. Know Thy Shit
6. Die And Let Live
7. Delete
8. Eat What You're Served
9. Sound Of My Stone
10. Martyr Of The Phase
Lineup:
Takis Mark - Vocals
Tas Ioannidis - Bass, Vocals
Kostas Kotsikas - Guitar
John Chief Stergiou – Guitar
Alex Alexiou – Drums
Record Label: ROAR! ROCK OF ANGELS RECORDS
     


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Edited 06 December 2021
 

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