Review: “The Fire Itself” by Phinehas

Going into this review we’re going to make no secret of the fact that we were completely blown away by 2017’s “Dark Flag” from Phinehas, a Modern Metalcore affair that has remained a firm favourite to this day thanks to Matt Goldman’s production and a plentiful supply of stunning leads. Vocalist Sean McCulloch, guitarist Daniel Gailey, bassist Bryce Kelley remain in the line up four years on with new drummer Isaiah Perez replacing Lee Humerian who left before “Dark Flag” was released so the words ‘highly anticipated‘ apply here…

Phinehas have reached their 20th anniversary as a band and the four year gap between albums marks the longest in their career with five albums and three EPs unleashed upon the unexpecting masses. “Eternally Apart” quite literally picks up where “Dark Flag” left off with sumptuous leads in seemingly infinite supply and skull shattering breakdowns a plenty. McCulloch’s vocal range remains phenomenal with some truly soulful cleans mixed in with the classy uncleans. The title track continues the energetic affair with drive and purpose, Daniel Gailey getting through the work of three guitarists and delivering a face melting solo that cuts back into a breakdown to close and will leave you with your jaw firmly on the floor. Dispite the four year gap, there is a continuity between “The Fire Itself” and “Dark Flag” that is understated and yet elegant. The two are far closer together than you might expect and that gives this new record an air of familiarity that gives it an instantly gratifying nature. It doesn’t need time to grow own you, it feels like another beer from the same keg. The galloping percussion of “War You Know” is a throwback to 2003 era Metalcore with little touches and nuances between riffs that pop out of the mix with each listen while raising the hairs on the back of your neck and summoning you to the circle pit with the ample breakdowns.

Holy Coward” sees the band joined guitarist CJ Masciantonio of Galactic Empire and Tethra fame as the band inject a real swagger into the cut throwing down the guantlet to the biggest names of the genre as they continually outdo themselves with fretboard smoking dexterity rapid fire percussive bursts and lyrical content with real depth and meaning before “Dream Thief” puts Phinehas firmly in August Burns Red territory and they carry it off in some style. “Dark Flag” has its beautiful melodic moment in “My Rosary” allowing McCulloch’s clean vocals to shine and that formula has been replicated to stunning effect on the opening half of “The Storm In Me” that gradually builds before bursting into flames, a deeply personal cut of serious power. “Severed By Self Betrayal” then picks up the torch and runs with it, another seriously high grade incendiary piece of Metalcore in every sense of those words and equally personal, the lyrics a window into the very soul of McCulloch. While other bands have searched for things to fuse to Metalcore, Phinehas have embraced it and delivered with incredible musicanship and the result is pure fire. They remain very much at the forefront of Modern Metalcore, creating music that celebrates the best of the genre as it is in 2021 and setting a high benchmark for anyone who wants to do Metal like this [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Eternally Apart
  2. The Fire Itself
  3. Thorns
  4. War You Know
  5. Defining Moments
  6. Holy Coward (ft. CJ Masciantonio of Galactic Empire and Tethra)
  7. Dream Thief
  8. The Storm In Me
  9. Severed by Self Betrayal
  10. In The Night

The Fire Itself” by Phinehas is out now via Solid State Records

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